The Keys to the Pennant Race

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The season is coming to a close and the Dodgers are in the midst of my favorite part of the season, the pennant race. In the National League West, the Dodgers and Giants are in the midst of a race for the division title. The Dodgers are seeking their 4th straight division title, and the Giants are in the trying to continue their every other year World Series Title pattern.

Last year the Dodgers clinched the division on September 26, 2015, when they beat the Giants 8-0. Kike Hernandez hit 2 home runs off of Madison Bumgarner. That game was one of my favorite games of the season. Players such as Clayton Kershaw, Kike Hernandez, Chase Utley, and Adrian Gonzalez were key players to the Dodger’s success.

KEY PLAYERS IN THE NL WEST

Corey Seager

Corey Seager on September 5, 2015After coming up to the major leagues with a bang last year, Corey Seager is showing the nation that he deserves to be the National League Rookie of the Year. The young shortstop was named to the National League All-Star Team in 2016, and competed in the Home Run Derby. The rookie also had a 19-game hitting streak (the longest in the National League as of September 22, 2016). On September 20, 2016, Corey Seager became the first Dodgers rookie to hit 40 doubles.  In June of 2016, Seager was named the National League player of the month; an honor that I believe fits him.

Madison Bumgarner

Madison Bumgarner on September 3, 2013The Giant’s ace Madison Bumgarner has just about everything that they need. He eats up innings that they don’t want to use the bullpen for, he can hit well for a pitcher, and he has determination. In 2014, MadBum was awarded the World Series MVP after pitching 3 innings in relief as the Giants defeated the Royals. Even if the Giants must settle for the Wild Card Game, Madison Bumgarner will likely lead the team to a well-played game.

Clayton Kershaw

20140919 Clayton Kershaw windup during 20th victory in 2014Even though Clayton Kershaw spent 2 months on the disabled list with a mild herniated disk in his back, he is Ace-like once again. The lefty has what the Dodgers have been lacking, distance. Once you reach the post-season you need players who can go into the game and pitch well, Kershaw does this. The 3-time Cy Young award winner, 2014 NL MVP, the 6-time All-Star, and 2011 Gold Glove winner has just about everything that it takes to drive the Dodgers through the post-season.

Hunter Pence

Hunter Pence on May 20, 2015The 33 year old right fielder has taken the Giants through all sorts of times. He led them to a World Series victory in 2014 and has always seemed to carry the team. He goes out to play every day, even if he is not in the starting lineup. He is always mentally in the game and never gives up. When he was shut down in June due to a pulled hamstring, the Giants seemed okay at first but it was soon clear that they needed him.

CONCLUSION

The Giants will not go down without fighting, even if the Dodgers clinch the division they have their eyes on the Wild Card game. After 2014, when they made the playoffs due to the wildcard spot I know that they never give up. These last few games will be very interesting as we see who will come out on top.

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