Of the six consecutive National League West titles the Los Angeles Dodgers have won, two were with plenty of drama. They are the ones that bookend the streak, as the Dodgers had to come from behind in the standings in 2013 and 2018.
The summer of 2013 saw the club rattle off a remarkable 42-8 stretch that was historic in its own right yet bested by the 2017 Dodgers as they ran away with the division and best record in baseball.
Then came this past season in which the Dodgers, perhaps dealing with lingering disappointment of losing the World Series, needed a Game 163 against the Colorado Rockies to claim another NL West title.
Colorado should again pose a threat in 2019, but the rest of the division is largely a question mark. Though, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts believes the NL West is competitive as ever and overlooked as a whole.
“It’s a competitive division. I think that I’m biased, I guess, because I spent a lot of time in the West. And I think that we don’t get that fair shake as far as the quality of teams and the parity,” he said.
“San Diego’s really coming. They’ve got, many people say, the best system in baseball. Very good position player group. Arizona, their position player group, they can pitch. They’ve got some holes to fill. But I think Torey’s done a tremendous job with that team.
“Colorado, they can really pitch. And I think that people talk about their offense, but they can pitch. And they’re tough. They’re deep. They’ve got some really good, young arms. And the Giants, they give us fits. It’s going to be interesting to see what direction and how they kind of go about things with Farhan. When you’ve got Buster Posey and Madison Bumgarner, they’ve got some good ingredients. And Brandon Crawford is a guy I’ve always really liked watching.”
Of course, while recognizing the division as worth competitors, Roberts concluded his remarks by championing his own team. “And then you’ve got the Dodgers,” he said, “Who I see at the top again.”
The Padres could emerge as a dark horse, particularly if they are able to complete a trade for Corey Kluber. But the Diamondbacks appear to be entering a bit of a rebuild after trading Paul Goldschmidt and losing Patrick Corbin in free agency to the Washington Nationals.
Meanwhile, the Giants are coming off one of their worst seasons in franchise history and in a bit of transition with former Dodgers general manager Farhan Zaidi now leading their front office.