Dodgers who are still hungry are looking to re-run as Reuters’ World Series champion

© Reuters. MLB: Los Angeles Angels at Los Angeles Dodgers

From Rory Carroll

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – After winning last season’s World Series in a COVID-shortened 60-game sprint, the Los Angeles Dodgers are confident they have the roster and hunger to repeat themselves as champions when their marathon 162-game campaign begins Thursday.

The Dodgers ended a 32-year title drought in Arlington in October and hope to be the first team to win titles since the New York Yankees won three straight titles between 1998 and 2000.

Outfielder Mookie Betts said the team Trevor Bauer added to its already terrifying off-season starting rotation had the staff to make it happen.

“We’re working hard and doing our best to do it again because it hasn’t been done in so long,” Betts told reporters this month.

“I think we have the squad to make this happen. Now it’s only time for us to go play.”

The Dodgers, who have won the National League West eight years in a row and have appeared in three of the last four Fall Classics, also have plenty of bat firepower, like the World Series MVP Corey Seager and the 2019 NL MVP Cody Bellinger.

And while many teams that won the championship suffered a hangover the following season, the fact that the Dodgers couldn’t play in front of fans or hold a parade due to COVID-19 restrictions makes them all the more hungry again to win .

“The focus on winning feels the same as it did last year, which is great and all we can ask for at this point,” Andrew Friedman, president of baseball operations at Dodgers, told MLB Network.

“In our eyes, what we achieved last year was incredibly special, but we couldn’t celebrate the way teams have historically seen it. The memories that emerge from it, like the parade.

“Everyone’s really focused on that. We’re doing everything we can to hopefully enjoy it in October and November.”

In the NL, the steadily improving San Diego Padres and the laden Atlanta Braves stand in the way, while the Yankees win the American League pennant.

The Dodgers begin their season on the go with a four-game series against the Colorado Rockies and a three-game series against the Oakland Athletics before hosting the Washington Nationals at their home opening game on April 9.

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