Overall, it was a very good weekend for the Dodgers in Seattle. Los Angeles won two of three and could’ve gotten the sweep if not for a (suspect) balk.
There were many positives in the Mariners series. The offense came alive, and not just with home runs. The Dodgers scored five runs in the first inning on Sunday without recording an extra-base hit. They scored 25 runs in the series, which had taken nine games to do so previously. The pitching was also pretty decent. Aside from a Kyle Seager home run off Rich Hill, and the aforementioned balk, the pitching staff held the Mariners to one run each in two games. Zac Rosscup pitched an immaculate ninth inning to close the series.
Clayton Kershaw gathered his 150th win. While not being quite vintage Kershaw, Clayton has continued to look better every start. In his last five starts, over 34-2/3 innings pitched, Kershaw has allowed 25 hits, seven runs, three walks, 32 strikeouts and has a 1.82 ERA. On Sunday, he went seven innings with two walks, seven strikeouts, allowing only one run. Encouraging because the Dodgers are going to need him to be his old self during this divisional battle and beyond.
Cody Bellinger currently has a 12-game hitting streak. Justin Turner is healthy and raking, with a 13 game hitting streak of his own. Matt Kemp seems to be finally coming out of that mid-season slump. This is exactly the right time for the team to get it together because it doesn’t get easier from here. The Dodgers are two games out of first, in third place in the NL West and the third team out of the Wild Card. There’s a lot of parity in the NL this season with eight teams having a legitimate shot at one of five spots.
One of those teams in the St Louis Cardinals, whom the Dodgers face for the first time this season, beginning with a three-game set on Monday. The Cardinals saw their manager Mike Matheny fired mid-season, when they were hovering around .500. Since then they have gone 21-11 under new skipper Mike Shildt and are only .5 games behind the Milwaukee Brewers for second place in the NL Central and Wild Card spot. Shildt has preached player driven play and and consistency and calm demeanor has gelled the clubhouse into playing their best.
Matt Carpenter has been a beast after starting the season with a .140 BA. He has 33 homers and bats leadoff with Yadier Molina behind him. Unorthodox maybe—they’ve gone 1-40 combined in the last few games, but overall the team is doing very well under their manager’s new approach.
The Dodgers will send Alex Wood, Hyun-Jin Ryu and Walker Buehler to the mound. The Cardinals will counter with rookie lefty Austin Gomber, righty Daniel Poncedeleon and righty Jack Flaherty. It’s been stated so much but the end thought is true—the Dodgers have to continue to remain hot to gain on the Diamondbacks and Rockies. There’s little room for error if they want to return to the playoffs.