Team Effort & Little More Magic Help Dodgers Take Control of NL West

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This team. Every time you think a game’s over, it’s not. There’s always something happening, someone else stepping up to do the damage. Thursday night was another wild ending that resulted in a walkoff win for the Dodgers.

After the bullpen squandered another excellent outing by Rich Hill, the Dodgers managed to small ball their way to a victory. Sure, all the the walks given by Diamondbacks reliever Fernando Rodney helped, but the Dodgers had the patience at the plate to not do too much and try to force the comeback. Perfectly placed hits by Corey Seager and Chris Taylor completed the  four run comeback and the sweep of Arizona. And they did it all with no outs!

The Dodgers did what they had to do. They faced both their closest division rivals, the Colorado Rockies and the Arizona Diamondbacks, and swept them both. Before facing the Rockies in a three game set on June 23, the Dodgers were up 2.5 games on both of those teams. Now on July 7, they are up 5.5 on the Diamondbacks, and 8.5 on the Rockies. This is the arguably the toughest division in baseball, as both the DBacks and Rockies have a commanding lead in the Wild Card Race.

Let’s talk about Hill for a minute. Trepidation abounded about him at the beginning of the season, and with good reason. Those pesky blisters didn’t seem like they would ever go away. But they did, and his last four starts have been stellar — in 26 innings pitched he’s allowed only 14 hits, and five runs, all earned. He’s only issued six walks, and struck out 36, and has a 1.73 ERA in that time frame.  His last three starts have all been seven innings. It’s so hard not to root for this guy, with his fun little hop off the mound, awkward at bats and fantastic facial expressions.

The Dodgers are as many games over .500 as they have loses. At 58-29, they have the best record in the NL, and are one loss behind Houston for the best record in baseball. They are playing .667 ball, and are on pace to win 108 games this season. They have the lowest team ERA in the NL, at 3.19. They have the player with the highest batting average and OPS in the Majors, in Justin Turner. Alex Wood, who began the season in the bullpen, is 10-0 with a 1.67 ERA. The list goes on and on and on.

I must say, I’m having a very hard time not getting ahead of myself here. Sure, this is what this team was built for. To be this good. And so they are. But they are also fun, and full of likeable players, and never quit attitude. And that can take you very, very far into the postseason. Of course there are still a piece or two they could add, like a lefty reliever. But this team has me dreaming of finally getting back to the World Series daily.

After the last four seasons, I want to temper myself. There’s still three months of baseball to go. Anything can happen. But in the words of Joe Davis: “Moment after moment, memory after memory” the Dodgers just keep doing it. And I am gratefully along for the ride.

(FOLLOW ANDY ON TWITTER: @DODGERGIRLINPA)

 

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