It is easy to excuse this past series against the Miami Marlins. The Los Angeles Dodgers did not arrive until early Friday morning after an exhausting day/night doubleheader against the Minnesota Twins, the second game of which went into extra innings and lasted over five hours. The loss on Friday could easily be chalked up to the schedule, and it is hard to expect a win when facing Jose Fernandez, especially when the team was using a spot starter in Stephen Fife.
The fact remains, however, that the Dodgers lost the series against the Marlins, and there is no room in the standings for rationalizing losses.
Heading into a very difficult week with series against the Washington Nationals and San Francisco Giants, the Dodgers have the benefit of rolling out their two best starters in both series. Zack Greinke will get the start tonight and Saturday, while Clayton Kershaw makes his return on Tuesday and will start again in the series finale against the Giants on Sunday.
Both the Nationals and Giants have played well as of late, and the Giants are on an absolute tear, winning nine out of their last 10 games. The Dodgers have languished a bit, and series victories over the Nats and Giants would give them a much-needed jolt in the NL West.
Fortunately for the Dodgers, Greinke has been nearly unhittable, going 5-0 with a 2.04 ERA, along with 46 strikeouts against only six walks. The club will need Greinke to continue his hot start by shutting down the lineups of the Nationals and Giants. Kershaw, who has been out with an injury since returning from the Australia trip, will need to get acclimated to facing big league lineups very quickly if the Dodgers are to be successful.
While it is still far too early to place a great deal of emphasis on a single week of games, the Dodgers could find themselves looking up in the standings of the NL West if they falter. By putting the ball in the capable hands of Greinke and Kershaw, the Dodgers have an excellent opportunity to regain some ground in the standings.
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