The Los Angeles Dodgers fought through some key injuries earlier this season and survived an adjustment period in which their newest acquisitions and their new team made the necessary adjustments. Now LA looks like it might be on a roll, and the timing couldn’t be better.
The Road Can be Your Friend
The Dodgers just took two of three games from the Braves in Atlanta over the weekend, but they’re probably kicking themselves for missing out on a sweep. Friday night LA took a 3-1 lead into the bottom of the eighth only to have the bullpen cough it up in a game eventually won by the Braves 4-3 in extra innings.
But the Dodgers bounced back to beat Ben Sheets Saturday 6-2, hitting four home runs, then won Sunday’s series rubber match 5-0, getting seven shut-out innings from a rejuvenated Chad Billingsley.
So the Dodgers begin this week at 67-55 and with a half-game lead over the Giants in the NL West. If the playoffs began today LA would be the three seed in the National League and on its way to Cincinnati to open a divisional-round series with the Central Division-leading Reds.
Sunday’s victory capped off a 7-3 road trip for the Dodgers on which they won all three series. Now they go back to Chavez Ravine to play the team that’s right on their ass in the division race.
Bring on the Giants
LA now begins a stretch in which it plays 13 of its next 16 games at home, starting with a three-game series with San Francisco.
The Dodgers will throw Clay Kershaw (11-6, 2.90) Monday night, Joe Blanton (8-11, 4.96) Tuesday and Chris Capuano (11-8, 3.14) Wednesday, while the Giants will go with Madison Bumgarner (13-7, 2.97), Tim Lincecum (6-13, 5.45) and Matt Cain (12-5, 2.90).
San Fran just took two of three games from the Padres over the weekend, but got some seriously bad news with the 50-game suspension of Melky Cabrera (.346, 60 RBI). He’s out for at least the remainder of the regular season.
The Dodgers lead the season series with the Giants five games to four.
With the recent activation of RP Scott Elbert and the demotion of Elian Herrera the Dodgers are now playing with 13 pitchers and just 12 position players on their roster. They’ve now got two lefties they can use out of the bullpen late in games, but that bench is awfully thin, especially in pinch-hitting situations, at least until rosters can be expanded Sept. 1.
For those interested in some MLB odds betting 5 dimes online sportsbook is offering a price of +600 on both the Dodgers and Giants to win the National League pennant this season and +1600 to win the World Series.