While the Dodgers themselves aren’t focusing too far ahead on the remaining 2018 regular-season schedule, many fans are starting to look at the calendar to see what’s left before the NL West division race heats up even more.
As of Wednesday morning, with 23 games remaining on the Dodgers’ docket, the Rockies lead the division with a 76-62 record with the Dodgers in second-place, trailing by one-half game at 76-63. Arizona is right in the mix of things in third place with a 75-64 mark, one full game behind Los Angeles.
All the big guns of the Western division are finishing up stints against some of the weakest clubs on the senior circuit right now. Los Angeles, of course, has one final contest remaining against the Mets, while Colorado will complete a three-game series against the Giants in Denver on Wednesday evening. The Diamondbacks are idle on Wednesday after they split a short two-game set against the dreaded Padres earlier in the week.
Many folks close to the Dodgers certainly aren’t looking forward to this weekend’s trip to Colorado, as there always seems to be implications surrounding a journey to Coors Field. This time around, Los Angeles may be without All-Star closer Kenley Jansen, as it was the Denver climate which instigated his a-fib complications not long ago. But the Dodgers offense seems to have picked up a little momentum since mid-August, and with the division on the line, this three-game set could end up being one of the most critical of September.
Looking past this weekend, though, the Dodgers will head to Cincinnati for three games to face the Reds, who have been cemented at the bottom of the NL Central for the entire season. Perhaps the biggest challenge of the upcoming road trip will be the final leg in St. Louis, where the Dodgers will face the Cardinals for a huge four-game series. Entering Wednesday’s game, St. Louis is in third place in the Central with a 77-62 record, but they’re playing solid baseball at the moment, hanging right in the wild card race. The Cardinals swept the Dodgers in three contests at Dodger Stadium just two weeks ago.
In the final four sets of the campaign, the Dodgers host the Rockies for three more games before finishing up their final homestand against the Padres. After three games against the Diamondbacks in Arizona, the Dodgers conclude the regular season with a three-game series against the Giants in San Francisco.
As tough as the Los Angeles schedule sounds, most of the remaining games for the Diamondbacks are borderline brutal. The Snakes host the NL East-leading Braves on Thursday, then ship-off to Denver for four games against the Rockies. Next, they’ll head to Houston to face the World Champion Astros for three, followed by a series in Chicago against the NL Central’s first-place Cubs. The D-Backs will finish the year hosting the Rockies and Dodgers for three apiece before heading to San Diego to finish their campaign.
In terms of difficulty, the Rockies’ schedule is probably somewhere right in between the Dodgers and the Diamondbacks. Besides the six games against the Dodgers, the Rox have seven more games against Arizona and will host the Phillies for a four-game series before closing out the regular season against the Nationals at home.
In the meantime, the Dodgers need to focus on one game at a time, as every remaining game is seemingly critical. The season could very well boil down to the final series or two of the year, with all three of the division leaders hanging around until the end.
As far as Wednesday’s series finale against the Mets goes, the Dodgers will send southpaw Hyun-Jin Ryu to the mound to oppose New York righty Zack Wheeler. First pitch is slated for 4:35 p.m. Los Angeles time.