Sunday, September 24

Dodgers vs. the field: Who to take in the NL?

Los Angeles Dodgers coach Dave Roberts kicked off the 2022 season with a lofty guarantee: “We are winning the World Series in 2022.”

Roberts’ bravado is fitting, as the Dodgers bolstered an already dominant lineup this offseason with the acquisition of five-time All-Star Freddie Freeman, creating an offensive behemoth. 

But the Dodgers don’t seem quite as invulnerable after the MLB’s opening weekend, following up a mildly concerning 5-9 spring training campaign by losing its opening series to the Rockies. 

Roberts’ bold proclamation has cast Los Angeles as pompous favorites, fittingly dodging daggers from the rest of the National League, and FOX MLB Studio Analyst and Hall of Famer Frank Thomas believes that Roberts’ words won’t have the desired effect in Hollywood. 

“I love the Dodgers, they’re a complete ball club.” Thomas said Monday on “MLB on FOX.” “But Dave Roberts did the wrong thing by saying ‘We’re going to win the World Series.’ He put that target on your back when everyone already knows you’re great.”

Why the Los Angeles Dodgers will win the NL

Why the Los Angeles Dodgers will win the NL

Chris Myers, Dontrelle Willis and Frank Thomas break down why they’re taking the Los Angeles Dodgers over the field in the National League.

Freeman joins the Dodgers after 11 seasons as a fan favorite with the Atlanta Braves, standing out as one of baseball’s most consistent players. He’s compiled the most hits and doubles of any MLB player since 2011 and the second-most total bases during that stretch, leading the Braves to three NL East titles and a long-awaited World Series title in 2021 after a decade of playoff heartbreak.

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The colossal first baseman has been particularly good over the last three seasons, starting in the last two All-Star Games and making up for the canceled event in 2020 by taking home his first MVP award. 

Freeman’s power started to wane last year despite a .300 batting average, however, as his 56 combined doubles and home runs in 2021 were his lowest total since 2015. Thomas also worries that Freeman, who has played all 11 seasons in Atlanta, will take time adapting to life in L.A., and he was certainly underwhelming with two singles in 14 collective plate appearances against Colorado. 

“I think Freddie’s going to have an adjustment period in Los Angeles.” Thomas said. “Moving from Atlanta to L.A., he’s been a king of Atlanta for a long time, you know. [With a] new clubhouse after winning the World Series, I think he struggles early. He’ll figure it out by the All-Star break though.”

Co-host Dontrelle Willis stressed that it’s too early to push the panic button, however, emphasizing the amount of veteran offensive weapons the Dodgers have. Along with Freeman, the Dodgers started two more former MVPs on Opening Day in Mookie Betts and Cody Bellinger along with four additional All-Stars in Trea Turner, Max Muncy, Justin Turner and Chris Taylor. 

With such proven star power, however, Willis believes L.A.’s offense will inevitably come alive and turn trips to Dodger Stadium into nightmares for National League pitching rotations. 

“You give this team a veteran team 60 at-bats, then come see me.” Willis said. Once everyone gets settled it’ll be fine. I’m not on the panic button. Once Freddie Freeman settles in and everybody sells in, I think it’s going to be a very difficult lineup for the National League to navigate when they’re all healthy.”

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And with the Dodgers sitting comfortably as a +500 World Series favorites per FOX Bet, they’re still in prime position to win their second World Series in three years. 

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