Ripken: Nats To World Series Doesn’t Hinge On Bryce Harper

The Los Angeles Dodgers mercifully won a game Tuesday. They beat the Giants, 5-3, to snap an 11-game losing streak.

Despite the skid, Los Angeles (93-52) still has a 10-game lead in the AL West, not to mention the best record in baseball. Are the Dodgers still the favorites to reach their first World Series since 1988?

“Well, look, they weren’t as good as they were when we were talking about can they set the all-time record for wins – and they’re certainly not as bad as this current little streak that they’re on,” MLB Network analyst Billy Ripken said on CBS Sports Radio’s The DA Show. “They’re going to be able to set up their rotation and they’re going to be able to pitch Clayton Kershaw in Game 1 of the playoffs. So when you talk about that kind of stuff, you say, ‘Okay, they’re okay.’

 

 

“But when I watched that game last night, they looked a little bit out of sorts, they looked like they were on edge, and they looked like they were pressing a little bit,” Ripken continued. “I think that’s human nature, and that’s probably a pretty good sign. It doesn’t mean they’re going through the motions. So they’re going to get to the postseason,(but) I don’t look at them as being overall better than the Nationals.”

The Nationals (88-56), with Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg, and Gio Gonzalez, have the third-best record in baseball, just behind the surging Indians (89-56), who have won 20 straight.

Washington, however, isn’t the only team that could threaten the Dodgers in the playoffs. The Rockies (80-65) and Diamondbacks (83-62) could, too.

“I think both (Colorado and Arizona) could present problems to the Dodgers,” Ripken said, “so I don’t think they’re odds-on-favorites anymore the way we might have thought six weeks ago. But they’re still going to be a dangerous team in the postseason because they’ve got talent.”

In the end, Ripken believes Washington will win the NLCS.

“Right now, I do,” he said. “That’s really not hinging on Bryce Harper coming back. What they’re able to do right now – they made some nice bullpen moves. Doolittle seems to be sitting in the back end of that pen and closing out games. Scherzer, Strasburg and Gio are going to be in the top-five conversation for Cy Young – and probably those three guys, the way they’re throwing the ball, they’re the No. 1 starter maybe on every other team but the Dodgers in the National League. So you’re looking at a starting staff that can go out there and dominate, Trea Turner is back – that guy presents a lot of problems in different ways. So if they get Bryce Harper back, that’s just going to put the cherry on top for me. But right now, I still like them as favorites.”

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