The Los Angeles Dodgers are back in the World Series after narrowly losing to the Houston Astros last year in a thrilling seven-game series.
After defeating the Milwaukee Brewers in a decisive Game 7 on Saturday in the NLCS, Clayton Kershaw and Co earned a chance at redemption against the explosive Boston Red Sox.
Here are our three reasons why the Dodgers will win the World Series in 2018.
1. Cody Bellinger has found his hitting touch
With five hits against the Brewers and a clutch home run in Game 7, Cody Bellinger was named NLCS MVP. His numbers dropped slightly during the regular season from his astonishing rookie campaign in 2017, but he has been a weapon during the postseason.
Bellinger looked lost during the postseason last year, failing to make much of an impact while losing starts. This year he looks much more mature at the plate, showing better plate awareness and smarter pitch selection.
The Dodgers do not have a plethora of mashers like the Red Sox, so Bellinger's form will be key to Los Angeles' chances.
2. They can win the bullpen battle
The Dodgers had so many quality starting pitchers this season that some of them are serving as long relievers. Having Kenta Maeda and Ross Stripling eat up innings in the middle of games alleviates pressure on the likes of Kershaw, who is 2-1 with a 2.37 earned run average this postseason.
Aside from the talent in long relief, Los Angeles boast an impressive array of options in the back half, led by closer Kenley Jansen.
The Red Sox have struggled to finish games all season and, with Chris Sale battling injury, Boston may not have the pitching to supplement their offense.
3. They have experience on their side
Most of the guys on this Dodgers roster played seven games in the World Series last year.
Injuries have plagued the Dodgers this season with pitchers and hitters like Justin Turner missing time throughout the year, but everyone, for the most part, is on the same page and available right now, giving Los Angeles talent and experience.
Kershaw, regarded as one of the best starting pitchers of the era, still has not won a World Series and is hungry to snap his postseason woes and claim a ring.
Although he is not known as a vocal leader, he could bring the spark the Dodgers need to get past Boston's young, explosive roster.
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