As their postseason journey continues, let's take a look at some players and the likelihood they turn out to be postseason heroes for the Boys in Blue:
Clayton Kershaw (100%)
Kershaw was dominant in last night's win while at times struggling. He fanned 12 against just six base runners and one run while consistently baffling Braves hitters. He's the best player on the team and the most likely to carry it to victory each time he steps on the rubber.
Adrian Gonzalez (45%)
Adrian is going to bat in the heart of the order and if the top of the lineup does its job and actually gets on base, he'll have enough opportunities to make a difference with the lumber, as he did yesterday with a two-run blast.
Hanley Ramirez (60%)
Hanley was the Dodgers' best offensive weapon this season, as I discussed recently. He'll need to keep up the offensive output to lead the Dodgers' hitters to continued success, particularly with no Matt Kemp and a limited Andre Ethier.
You rarely face poor pitching in the postseason, and with the Blue Crew arms able to hold down opponents, the Dodgers don't need to score a ton of runs to win.
Hyun-Jin Ryu (35%)
Ryu will slot in as the third starter behind Kershaw and Zack Greinke, and as he'll almost certainly get just one turn in the rotation each series. If he can continue his regular season success into the playoffs, it makes the Dodgers infinitely more difficult to beat.
There's nothing to worry about from the top two hurlers, so it falls to Ryu and Ricky Nolasco to keep the team in their starts and put up great performances to keep series from stretching to 6 or 7 games.
Wild Card: Yasiel Puig (50%)
To quote Charlie Day from It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia, Yasiel Puig's the "WILD CARD!!!" of the bunch. In Game 1, he made a heady play to take third on a single to center, leading to the first run of the game. He later doubled-up a wandering Evan Gattis from first on a routine flyout to right.
Puig has been criticized as being the ultimate downfall of the Dodgers in the postseason due to rookie mistakes he's still learning to correct, but in the opener his arm and legs helped propel the Dodgers to the win.
He's still likely to make some mistakes in the field or on the bases and swing at bad balls, but he'll do far more good than bad, as has been the case since his June debut.
Michael Young (Sub-0%)
Like his fWAR the last two seasons, Young's chances are less than zero.
However, as so often happens with baseball, he'll probably somehow manage a broken-bat blooper that falls for a single or a weak grounder that eludes fielders. Ned Colletti will give Young a 3-year-deal. Pundits and fans will laud it and Young's gritty, classy style of play and leadership that lifted a team of overpaid primadonnas to the Promised Land.
The rest of us will be weeping.Greg Zakwin is the founder of Plaschke, Thy Sweater Is Argyle, a Dodgers' and sports card blog. He writes with an analytical tilt about The Blue Crew at ChadMoriyama.com. You can find and follow him on Twitter @ArgyledPlaschke. A graduate of UCLA in 2011 with a Bachelor's in History, he's been a follower of the Dodgers since birth and still mourns the loss of both Mike Piazza and Carlos Santana.
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