We are currently at the 2021 All-Star break, a time when fans get to enjoy all the festivities and a select few players are recognized for their efforts over the first half of the season.
If the second half of this season is anything like the first, we are in for some very tight divisional races, especially in the National League West. It will be a three-team race between the Giants, Dodgers, and Padres, as the Rockies and Diamondbacks are among the league’s worst clubs.
Currently, those three California teams are the only teams in the National League to have won over 50 games besides the Brewers. The Giants sit atop the division at 57-32, while the Dodgers are two games behind at 56-35 and the Padres six games behind at 53-40. Those records would be good enough to lead any other division.
Taking a look at the Dodgers, everyone knows they’ve hardly been at full strength at any point this season. Injuries to Cody Bellinger, Dustin May, Max Muncy and Corey Seager are only some the team has endured. Definitely one area that needs to be beefed up is the starting rotation, as injuries and other matters have decimated the original starting five. It is highly anticipated that the Dodgers target a couple of starting pitchers at the trade deadline at the end of this month.
The Dodgers and Giants meet nine times throughout the second half, with seven of those meetings coming yet in July. Surely the Dodgers will want to take advantage of those meetings.
The rejuvenated Giants have been the biggest surprise in the MLB this year. They were not expected to be contending, let alone have the best record in the majors. Many of their players are having career years. One prime example is pitcher Kevin Gausman, who’s 9-3 with a 1.73 ERA and figures to be a finalist for the NL Cy Young.
The questions early on was when would the Giants fall off or how long can they keep their momentum, but it seems like they are here to stay.
The Padres were expected to be a big contender before the season, as it was expected the Dodgers and Padres would battle each other for the NL West crown.
The Padres have had their fair share of success this year against the Dodgers, winning the last seven matchups and had their streaks. San Diego figures to be the social media’s favorite team this year, as you can catch a highlight nearly every day through Twitter or Facebook posts.
So to wrap up, it will be exciting to see the race come October, with the perfect case scenario having the Dodgers returning to full strength health-wise and claiming the division. But it won’t be easy. This Giants team is here for a reason, and the Padres certainly seem to have the Dodgers number at this point. Two things for the Dodgers to work on will definitely be those one-run games and driving home runners in scoring position.
There’s definitely a chance the Dodgers bring home their ninth straight division crown, but this one may be their hardest one yet.