Before the 2013 MLB season even got under way, the Los Angeles Dodgers entered it with huge expectations due to their high payroll and incredible amount of talent on their team. Unfortunately, the season didn’t start off for Los Angeles how everyone predicted it to. The Dodgers finished the first half of the season at .500 with 47 wins and 47 losses. However, the Dodgers didn’t stay down for long and had a strong second half with 45 wins and only 23 losses. The huge turnaround that Los Angeles had was in a big part due to their 42-8 run they had once the likes of a healthy Hanley Ramirez and the rookie Cuban sensation Yasiel Puig made their way into the regular lineup. By the end of the regular season, the Dodgers were in first place in the NL West by 11 games and finished fourth in the National League with a 92-70 record.
Injuries played a big part of the up and down regular season. A pitching staff that had an overabundant amount of starters at the beginning of the regular season turned into a patchwork job not far into said season. Chad Billingsley and Josh Beckett both suffered season ending injuries which led to the likes of Ted Lilly, Matt Magill, Stephen Fife, Chris Capuano and the acquired Ricky Nolasco and Edinson Volquez all getting starts at some point during the season. Nolasco and Capuano eventually settled into the backend of the rotation that was led by the phenomenal trio of likely National League Cy Young winner Clayton Kershaw, his $100 million co-ace Zack Greinke and a solid and steady rookie by the name of Hyun-Jin Ryu. This trio of starters combined for 45 victories and only cost the Dodgers 21 games in the loss column. The bullpen had its ups and downs too, but Kenley Jansen was one pitcher the Dodgers were able to count on regardless of where they had him pitching. Before he took over the closer role, he manged to tally 16 holds, but due to Brandon League‘s struggles, Jansen ended up taking over the closing role for this team and he was great. Kenley finished the season with 28 saves and that number would have been a lot higher had he started the season out in that same position.
Offensively, Los Angeles was carried by Ramierz, Puig and the quiet but steady veteran Adrian Gonzalez. The Dodgers offense could have had even more firepower if it wasn’t for nagging injuries to the likes of Carl Crawford and Matt Kemp. Sadly, both of those players bounced back and forth from the disabled list. Crawford got it going when he was able to finally stay healthy, but the same can’t be said about Kemp. Matt’s final return from the disabled list was solid at the end of the season, but he was unable to maintain it and missed the entire postseason because of injuries.
The postseason was another up and down time for the Dodgers. Los Angeles had hot bats during the NLDS against the Atlanta Braves and was able to defeat them in five games. When it came time to play the St. Louis Cardinals in the NLCS, their bats were null and void and that cost them in that series and they ended up losing in six games.
With all of that said, the 2013 season should be considered a very strong one for Los Angeles. When 2014 comes around, the Dodgers could very well be favored heavily again and this time I fully expect them to come out of the gates firing and never look back. 2013 wasn’t the year for Los Angeles to make the World Series and win it, but 2014 is looking very bright for the Dodgers and a World Series victory is certainly not out of the question.