Dodgers wasted plenty of opportunities in the World Series

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The Dodgers fought long and hard against the Astros but ultimately came up just short of winning their first championship since 1988. Instead, the Astros ended their own championship drought of 55 years.

In Game 7, the Dodgers had six runners reach base via hit, two via walk, and four via hit-by-pitch. But only once did they get a hit with a runner in scoring position despite 13 opportunities. That one hit was Andre Ethier‘s lightly-hit, but well-placed ground ball single to right field in the sixth inning. 1-for-13 works out to a .077 average.

But it wasn’t just Game 7. Across all seven games, the Dodgers hit an even .200, going 11-for-55 with runners in scoring position. The Astros, on the other hand, had five fewer opportunities but came through two more times, batting .260 with RISP.

No doubt one has to assign a large amount of credit to Astros pitchers for that, but if you ask any Dodger hitters, they’ll tell you they wasted some golden opportunities. Cody Bellinger had a couple of good games, racking up a pair of doubles in Game 4 and a home run with four RBI in Game 5. But he also struck out four times  in Games 3 and 6, and went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts in Game 7.

Yasiel Puig went 4-for-27 (.148) overall in the World Series. Corey Seager, 6-for-27 (.222). Justin Turner, 4-for-25 (.160). Chris Taylor, 6-for-27 (.222). Chase Utley went hitless in 19 plate appearances across the entire postseason, including seven in the World Series. About the only players who consistently hit in the World Series were Joc Pederson (6-for-18, .333) and Charlie Culberson, who had five at-bats.

Of course, the pitching deserves some blame as well. Yu Darvish got absolutely hammered in both of his starts. A gassed Brandon Morrow was on the hook for four runs without recording an out in Game 5. Clayton Kershaw wasn’t very effective in his Game 5 start, failing to get through the fifth inning.

The Dodgers will now have three months to second-guess themselves before spring training comes calling in February 2018. Those are going to be three very long months.

Shohei Ohtani agrees to $30 million deal for 2023 with Angels

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
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ANAHEIM, Calif. — Shohei Ohtani agreed to a $30 million deal with the Los Angeles Angels for the 2023 season in the two-way superstar’s final year of arbitration eligibility before free agency.

The Angels announced the deal, avoiding a potentially complicated arbitration case with the 2021 AL MVP.

Ohtani’s deal is fully guaranteed, with no other provisions. The contract is the largest ever given to an arbitration-eligible player, surpassing the $27 million given to Mookie Betts by the Boston Red Sox in January 2020, a month before he was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Ohtani is having another incredible season at the plate and on the mound for the Angels, regularly accomplishing feats that haven’t occurred in the major leagues since Babe Ruth’s heyday. He is a strong contender for the AL MVP award again alongside the Yankees’ Aaron Judge, who has tied the AL home run record and is closing in on the batting Triple Crown.

Ohtani is batting .276 with 34 homers, 94 RBIs and a .888 OPS as the Halos’ designated hitter. He is 15-8 with a 2.35 ERA and 213 strikeouts as their ace on the mound, and opponents are batting only .207 against him.

The 28-year-old Ohtani still will be a free agent after the 2023 season, and his future could be tied to the immediate fortunes of the Angels, who will complete their seventh consecutive losing season next week. The Angels didn’t trade Ohtani at the deadline despite being out of the playoff race again, and Ohtani is wildly popular among the club’s fans.

Ohtani repeatedly has said winning will be an important factor in choosing his home beyond 2023, and Angels owner Arte Moreno is currently exploring a sale of the team.

Moreno’s leadership has been widely criticized during the Angels’ mostly miserable run of play since 2009, and a fresh start with deep-pocketed new owners could be the best chance to persuade Ohtani to stay with the franchise he joined in 2018 from Japan. Ohtani immediately won the AL Rookie of the Year award, and he rounded into unique form last season after recovering fully from Tommy John surgery.