Cody Bellinger sees “exciting … fun season” for Dodgers, Padres NL West crown fight
In 2019, Cody Bellinger won the NL MVP Award. In 2020, Bellinger and his Dodgers won the World Series. So how did it feel to have these two very significant accomplishments in your 2021 spring training belt?
“It really and really doesn’t feel any different,” Bellinger told SN last week that he was doing a round of sponsored interviews on Flonase’s behalf (Bellinger says he uses a nasal spray, btw). “It feels great, of course, but it feels the same. Everyone works the same, everyone does the same thing, everyone is preparing for the season ”.
The same thing is good for the Dodgers.
The club have won 345 games in the last four regular seasons, and another 33 in the last four seasons. These two numbers are the best of the largest, and only the Astros (340 and 33) are close by. After that, the Yankees (327 and 18) and Indians (321 and two) have won only the best 315 regular seasons in the last four years.
But it’s amazing how the narrative around the Dodgers has changed. For so long, they took the job as a team that had always had the October hiccup, a team that couldn’t finish the job. Clayton Kershaw was the future Hall of Fame who could not win a title.
Remember, the franchise has won eight consecutive years in the NL West, scoring at least 20 games a year. More than 500 and it wasn’t until 2020 that he won his first World Series title.
Now? The Dodgers won the World Series – after reducing their playoffs against Atlanta in the NLCS – and suddenly look perfect if they are healthy in October. A, and Kershaw had 2.31 in two of the 14 World Series points, completely erasing that narrative.
“Everyone wanted Kersh,” Bellinger said. “He deserves more than anyone. He was special.”
If the Dodgers win two titles in a row in 2021, the toughest competition is a team two hours south, along the California Interstate 5 coast.
The rivalry between the Padres and the Dodgers didn’t last long, mostly because the Padres weren’t very good. San Diego won 90 or more games only once from 1999 to 2019. It changed last year when San Diego finished with the second-best record in the NL (behind the Dodgers) and the third-best record in the majors. The Dodgers went 6-4 against the Padres in the regular season short of 2021, after which the Padres plunged into the second round of the NL playoffs.
Due to the young superstar Fernando Tatis Jr. being the face of the franchise, the Padres have built a club that will be a World Series competitor for years to come. According to most forecasts (writers, television and Vegas) they are seen as the second best team in the National Padres League. And they are in the same distribution as the Dodgers.
“It will be exciting. It’s going to be a fun season, going against those guys, “Bellinger said.” They have a lot of very talented guys. Obviously, Tatis, but guys like (Eric) Hosmer and (Manny) Machado … a lot of guys who are able to play there. “
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The Padres were very aggressive this season, pushing the rotation with Blake Snell, the 2018 AL Cy Young winner – and could be the 2020 World Series hero – and Yu Darvish, eventually finishing second in the NL Cy Young final vote. year. Those deals were so exciting that Joe Musgrover’s trade was almost a thought. Musgrove, who pulled out 12.5 batters per nine innings and last year posted 3.42 FIPs in eight outings with the Pirates, will be inserted in the middle of the round along with Chris Paddack.
A, and extended a $ 340 million 14-year contract to Tatisi. And they signed Ha-Seong Kim, KBO star. And Jurickson Profar was re-signed as a new player. And Mark Melancon and Keone Kela joined the outfielders. It was quite a season.
The Dodgers noticed, of course. However, they are sure of what they have.
“Hopefully we can repeat what we’re doing,” Bellinger said. “That’s what we’re going to do, pay attention to our game and not worry about anyone’s game.”