We are now in the second half of the season. Through exactly 30 games this year, the Dodgers stand with the best record in the league at 22-8. With the August 31st trade deadline rapidly approaching, teams will look to add their final pieces to their World Series puzzles. Teams will be reluctant to trade their prized prospects for perhaps only a 30 game rental of a top player. The Dodgers have made several big moves through the past couple of seasons, but it will be interesting to see if Andrew Friedman and the front office will make a splash this year.
The Dodgers have put up a 9-1 record through the last ten games, and the team appears to be firing on all cylinders despite a couple of injuries. On Sunday, when they honored the late great Kobe Bryant, the Dodgers belted seven home runs.
The bullpen that has given fans a nervous breakdown in the past has been one of the major strengths this year. Newcomers like Brusdar Graterol, Jake McGee, and Blake Treinen have been nice additions to the pen. McGee, who was released by Colorado amid recent struggles, was signed just before the season began. He’s posted 0.90 ERA so far, although pitching away from Coors Field probably also helped a bit.
Treinen, who had a down year last season after having stellar All-Star campaigns, has looked to find his filthy movement back on his sinker and has posted an 0.75 ERA. Graterol is probably one of my personal favorites to watch, as he is still really young at 22 years old, but has some of the craziest stuff in the game upwards of 102 MPH. Caleb Ferguson has had a nice start in the season, also posting up 0.79 ERA. Kenley Jansen has posted a 0.77 ERA and hasn’t blown a save opportunity so far this year. Overall, the bullpen is quite in form, hope is left that this form will continue in October.
During the seven-homer party on Sunday, Mookie Betts belted two. Betts has now enjoyed a three-homer game and a two-homer contest. The best thing about this is we have a dozen years more left of Betts. He leads the team in homers with 11 now, just ahead of Bellinger who has eight. Bellinger hit a walk-off homer on Saturday, the first walk-off win of the year for Los Angeles. It was quite the celebration as Bellinger had no idea he hit the ball out until reaching first base. Bellinger has now homered in four of his past five games. He’s been hitting the ball well, even making loud contact on outs. His average raised now to .211 after it was tethering around the low .100s for a bit.
Fans were concerned about Bellinger’s early-season struggles, but now he has found himself in more of a groove. It is unfortunate we won’t see this team throughout a full 162-game season. It’s been quite fun to watch Betts alongside Bellinger and Kershaw pitching with increased velocity.
If the Dodgers put up anything close to a 22-8 record in the second half of the season, the best record will be theirs to lose. Although there had been reports of MLB discussing a bubble format for the postseason like the NBA and MLS, there hasn’t been anything settled. It would be much sweeter to see the postseason at Dodger Stadium even if it’s only cardboard cutouts in the pavilion.
As the second half begins, the Dodgers will make a trip up North for their only remaining series in San Francisco. This will be the last series against the Giants this season, as the Dodgers are 5-4 against the Giants so far. The two teams split an opening four-game series at Dodger Stadium, then met a couple of weeks after when the Dodgers narrowly took two games out of three. Since then, the Dodgers have moved to first place in the National League West, and the Giants have hung around last place, although they’ve shown some success recently.
Urias will look to have a longer outing, as his last appearance only lasted 1.2 innings in which he gave up four hits, one walk, and a run. The Dodgers will face Johnny Cueto, who they’ve seen multiple times this year, in the opener.
Tuesday’s first pitch is set for 6:45 p.m. Pacific time.