Los Angeles Dodgers: The “big four” rotation that can win the Dodgers the World Series

May 13, 2017; Denver, CO, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Alex Wood (57) prepares to deliver a pitch in the first inning Colorado Rockies at Coors Field. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
May 13, 2017; Denver, CO, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Alex Wood (57) prepares to deliver a pitch in the first inning Colorado Rockies at Coors Field. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports /

If the Los Angeles Dodgers fail to capture World Series gold in 2017 it will mark the 29th consecutive season in which they failed to do so.

Being a fan of the Los Angeles Dodgers has been tough, and certainly has had its ups and downs. 29 years ago Kirk Gibson gave us the most rewatched moment in Dodger history – a walk-off home run in game one of the World Series, followed by a limp around the bases. The injured Gibson did the impossible and belted a shot off of the best closer of his time, Dennis Eckersley.

It was the perfect swan song for the Los Angeles Dodgers, who as Vin Scully, had an improbable year. Having both the NL Cy Young and NL MVP helped the Dodgers, as they were able to take out a dominant Mets team in seven games before beating the Oakland Athletics in five.

This was an all-time high for Dodger fans, it was the perfect season, the team brought in Gibson to do just that. Nothing could have gone better for the Los Angeles Dodgers, they were atop Mount Everest looking down upon the baseball world. It must have been great, as it has been 29 years since then.

Being just eighteen years old, I have never been able to witness the Los Angeles Dodgers do anything special. I remember being 10 and seeing the Dodgers fall victim to the Phillies in the 2008 NLCS.  It wasn’t that big of a deal to my 10-year-old self, however, as I was happy to see my favorite player Ryan Howard win his World Series.

Fast forward to 2013, when the Dodgers would start a four-year stretch of winning the NL West. All four of these years were heartbreaks, falling victim twice in the NLCS and twice in the NLDS. This past season, 2016, hurt me the most as a fan.

The entire season I told myself to not get optimistic, as the Cubs looked too dominant and it seemed to be their year. I stuck with that, I didn’t get ahead of myself after the team’s great NLDS. Then, the Dodgers shut out the Cubs in consecutive games, were up 2-1, and had two more to play in Los Angeles.

I finally imagined the site I have never seen, the gloves being tossed in the air, the hug on the mound, the Dodgers winning the pennant. Just the thought of the Dodgers getting there, not even winning it, was enough to spark butterflies in my stomach. We all know what happened after that, Adrian Gonzalez was screwed out of a run, and the series collapsed from there.

This year will be different. The Dodgers have a dangerous weapon at their disposal – perhaps the best four-man rotation in all of baseball.

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Assuming the team makes it to the postseason, they should have no issue shutting down the offenses they face. Los Angeles have a fearsome foursome of Clayton Kershaw, Alex Wood, Rich Hill, and Julio Urias to leave the game in the hands of the hitters.

Granted, this is assuming that Hill gets healthy, but this foursome could have the potential to do something special. First, they are all left-handed pitchers, which would equalize the bats of Bryce Harper and Daniel Murphy if the Dodgers came up against the Nationals.

Should the Dodgers come up against the Cubs again in the postseason it should be no problem. Kershaw has pitched well against Chicago, Hill thrived, Urias was dealing until a bit of misfortune, and Wood is magical in Dodger stadium. The great thing too is they have a fifth weapon in their arsenal, Brandon McCarthy if Hill does not come back.

The numbers these four can put together are spectacular, especially considering Alex Wood is the best pitcher in the National League in terms of Wins Above Replacement, despite not even being qualified.

Combined the foursome has an 11-4 record, a 2.62 ERA, and 123 strikeouts in 120.1 innings pitched. Take away Urias’ last blunder, in which he allowed six runs in four innings, and this ERA shrinks to a 2.24.

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Clayton Kershaw is the best pitcher on the planet, Alex Wood is deadly and is lights out in Dodger stadium, Urias is the next big thing that is destined to break out at any time, and Rich Hill is the grizzled vet who thrives through deception. If I were opposing batters, I would be fearful of the Los Angeles Dodgers big four.