Fall Classic After 29 Years…

The Dodgers Win! Next Stop, the World Series!…

Congratulations to the Los Angeles Dodgers for advancing to the World Series!  The Dodgers defeated the Chicago Cubs in the NLCS four games to one with their 11-1 victory on Thursday night.

Credit:  Wally Skalij-Los Angeles Times

It was a very impressive clinching victory for the Dodgers which featured three home runs and seven RBI’s from their utility outfielder, Enrique “Kike” Hernandez.

Credit:  Jamie Squire-Getty Images

Clayton Kershaw, very excited to be playing in his first World Series (and the Dodgers first since 1988), was outstanding. He pitched six innings, allowing only three hits, one run, a walk, and had five strikeouts. The bullpen trio of Kenta Maeda, Brandon Morrow and Kenley Janson pitched a combined three innings of one-hit scoreless ball with 5 K’s.  The Dodgers bullpen was simply incredible throughout the NLCS.

The defending champion Chicago Cubs could only muster one win in the NLCS, taking Game 4 by a score of 3-2 behind impending free agent Jake Arrieta.

They showed an interesting stat last night on TBS that there hasn’t been a team to win consecutive World Championships for 16 years or since the New York Yankees did it from 1998 through 2000 making it the longest streak in MLB history. With the Cubs’ ouster, the streak will continue for at least another year. The Dodgers also hold the longest post-season appearances streak without a championship, having failed ten times since they last won in 1988. They also lost four NLCS series in that time, including last year when the Cubs used the Dodgers as a springboard to the championship.

Great job by manager Dave Roberts! He’s been the perfect fit for the Dodgers and he’s deserves much of the credit for the team’s success. No one could have predicted the breakout year for Cody Bellinger, but the Dodgers have been so successful getting huge results out of lesser known guys like Hernandez, Chris Taylor, and Brandon Morrow, among others. Taylor was recognized for his outstanding job filling in for the injured Corey Seager when he was named co-MVP, along with Justin Turner, for the NLCS. Then again, Taylor has answered the call wherever he has played this year.

Chris Taylor, Joc Pederson
Credit:  Matt Slocum-AP

Yasiel Puig was an enigma leading up to this season but whether it was Roberts, maturity, or hitting coach Turner Ward, Puig has gone from player most likely to be traded to a being a huge part of the latest championship club and its success.

The Dodgers now await the results of the American League Championship Series. The Yankees currently hold a three games to two advantage over the Houston Astros, but with two games slated in Houston for Games 6 and (potentially) 7, they face a difficult challenge. The Yankees only need one win but none of the road teams have won a game in the ALCS so far. The Dodgers probably do not really care who they play in the World Series but a Dodgers-Yankees match-up is very intriguing. I am sure that’s the match-up that TV networks want to see but the Houston Astros carry the story of “Houston Strong” as a city that overcame the worst flooding in its history earlier this summer. Based on regular season results, the Astros, with 101 wins (5 more in the post-season) are the second best team left standing in the play-offs behind the Dodgers. The upstart Yankees, a young developing team, won only 91 games as the Wild Card entrant.

Regardless of who they face, the Dodgers have to be the considered the favorite.  It’s a great time for Dodgers baseball! The World Series begins in Los Angeles on Tuesday, October 24th. FOX will televise this year’s Fall Classic.

Musical Managing Chairs…

The playoffs have not stopped teams with vacant managerial posts from taking action or at least talking action.

Ron Gardenhire is in contract negotiations with the Detroit Tigers to replace fired manager Brad Ausmus. The former long-time Twins manager was most recently bench coach for Torey Lovullo and the Arizona Diamondbacks. An announcement regarding Gardenhire could be made today according to Jon Morosi of the MLB Network.

Houston Astros bench coach Alex Cora appears to be the likely choice to replace John Farrell as manager of the Boston Red Sox.  I thought that Brad Ausmus would get stronger consideration in Beantown, given his history with Red Sox executive Dave Dombromski, but Cora would be a great choice. There’s no doubt he has been the top choice for many despite the lack of managerial experience.

I feel bad for Dave Martinez, currently bench coach for the Chicago Cubs. He has deserved a managerial opportunity for a few years now but the door has not opened for him.

Credit:  Chicago Tribune

The New York Mets and the Philadelphia Phillies have openings but no clear cut favorites have emerged. I did hear the Mets liked the interview of their hitting coach, Kevin Long but it’s anybody’s guess who ends up with the job in Queens to replace Terry Collins.

The New York Yankees could have an opening if Joe Girardi decides to step away from the game at the conclusion of his team’s season. His contract is expiring and the decision to return will largely rest with Girardi and his family.

I have wondered about the Miami Marlins and their manager, former Dodgers manager, Don Mattingly. It’s assumed that Mattingly is safe with the new ownership group, particularly considering the shared Yankees history between new Marlins Co-Owner/CEO Derek Jeter and Mattingly. However, Jeter could decide to bring in “his” guy for the post.  Jeter has already poached Gary Denbo from the Yankees to be his VP of player development and amateur scouting with more moves expected.

The Baseball World anxiously awaits the Dodgers to win the World Series so that they can move on to preparations for the 2018 season. But sadly for the rest of baseball, you can be assured that Dodgers President-Baseball Operations Andrew Friedman and GM Farhan Zaidi aren’t sleeping. They’ll soon be at work to determine how they can improve Baseball’s best team. That’s not good news for the rest of Major League Baseball.

It’s time for the Word Series and it is time for Dodgers baseball!  Bring it home, Blue!