The Dodgers starting rotation is a team of superheroes hell-bent on destroying hitters everywhere
At 49-25, the Dodgers currently have the best record in baseball. They made the World Series in 2017, they made it again in 2018 and, if all continues to go as well as it's going, they'll make it again in 2019.
They have a Babe Ruth-level MVP candidate in Cody Bellinger and they have a guy who crushes baseballs into oceans in Max Muncy. But, perhaps most frighteningly, they have five starting pitchers that are absolutely annihilating lineups across the country. They lead the league with a combined 2.72 ERA, 36 wins and impeccable control (under two walks per nine innings).
They're different ages, speak different languages and bring different strengths, but, all together, they form a band of five superheroes no other team can match -- or maybe ever has matched.
There's Hyun-Jin Ryu, the superman. After years of being a superstar in Korea, he's finally becoming the superstar in America that the Dodgers always dreamed he could be. Of the five control artists, he has the most command of his pitches. He leads baseball in wins (9) and ERA (1.26), has a close relationship with one of the world's most popular pop bands and, although he's a serious ace, he's also one of the most fun-loving personalities in the league.
There's Walker Buehler, the flamethrowing phenom. He's by far the youngest of the five at 24 years old, and that means that his fastball is also the fastest -- sitting at around 97 mph.
He has a devastating slider, worm-burning sinker and Mariano Rivera-esque cutter. He has a ton of energy (seriously, there are like 50 GIFs of him just screaming) and he'll give the team a fresh and lively arm down the stretch into the playoffs.
There's Rich Hill, the wise old guard. The man known as Dick Mountain has been everywhere -- eight separate big league teams, plus the independent league Long Island Ducks back in 2015 -- but he's been a blessing for the Dodgers the last few years. Mostly because of his side-armed, mind-breaking curveball.
His 2.60 ERA is good for fourth in the National League. At 39 years old, he's the experienced sage every superhero team needs, but that doesn't mean he's lost any of his passion -- particularly when you put a bowl of candy in front of him.
There's Kenta Maeda, the jack-of-all-trades. Maeda, hailing from Japan, has been crucial to the Dodgers' success over the last couple years. He was moved back and forth between the starting rotation and bullpen last year and, totally undeterred, pitched incredibly well in both spots. He's given up just four runs in 17 postseason relief appearances since 2017. He'll even hit a home run off you if you're not paying attention.
He has a 3.87 ERA and seven victories as a full-time starter this year. And if he doesn't scare you on the field, he will almost definitely scare you off of it.
There's Clayton Kershaw, the legend. He's the one everybody knows -- the one every hitter whispers about before boarding a plane to L.A. He's been one of the best pitchers to ever step on a big league mound over the last 10 seasons and he's still great in 2019: 7-1, 2.85 ERA and a breaking pitch that drops straight into hell.
Matt Monagan is a writer for MLB.com. In his spare time, he travels and searches Twitter for Wily Mo Peña news.