And just like that, the Los Angeles Dodgers have found themselves in a tie for first place in the NL West.
As the Dodgers approach the All-Star break, they have seen their offense come to life while the starting pitching continued its dominance. They have also seen the San Francisco Giants – perceived early on in the season by many pundits as running away with division – fall apart as their offense became mired in its first extended slump of the season.
The Dodgers reached first in much the same way as they have turned around their season: Offensive outbursts coupled with dominant pitching.
Clayton Kershaw was outstanding again, striking out 13 batters over seven innings of work while extending his scoreless inning streak to 28, which is impressive, yet it is not quite halfway to Orel Hershiser’s record-setting mark.
The offense again pounded on the opposition, getting eight timely hits that included a three-run homer from Andre Ethier to put the game firmly out of reach.
Matt Kemp continued his hot streak, which has occurred concurrently with the Dodger turnaround. The Dodgers are 15-7 since June 6, and Kemp just so happens to be slashing .346/.409/.577 with 10 extra-base hits (three of which are homers) and 15 RBI.
The San Francisco Giants, on the other hand, have gone 7-15 during that same time, allowing the Dodgers back into the NL West pennant race, where they both currently sit tied.
The Giants, heavily reliant on their potent offense, are more likely to endure cold spells such as the one they are currently experiencing. The Dodgers, with their excellent starting pitching, are less reliant on their offense and therefore more likely to be more consistent going forward, barring injury of course.
With an outstanding starting rotation, an offense and defense that have both finally turned it around, it is hard to imagine a playoff race without the Dodgers.
The more pressing race at the moment may be an arms race, as both clubs will undoubtedly be looking to the trade dealine for help during the stretch run.Tags: Andre Ethier, Baseball, Clayton Kershaw, Los Angeles, Los Angeles Dodgers, Matt Kemp, MLB