The Dodgers took two out of three games from the red hot Phillies, but it still was not enough to gain any ground in their quest for the National League West division lead. Currently, Los Angeles sits five games back from the first-place Giants.
For much of the offseason, MLB pundits discussed how big of a race this division would be between the Padres and Dodgers, but no one, aside from die-hard Giant fans, expected San Francisco to be this good this far into the season.
Perhaps with a fully healthy Dodger team, it may be a different story, but the reality is the team has not been fully healthy at any point this season. As it stands now, the Giants are 74-41 and the Dodgers are 69-46. Surely, the Dodgers will be in the playoffs regardless, but anything can happen in a Wildcard game.
As it stands right now, the wildcard game would be between the Padres and Dodgers at Dodger Stadium. However, the two sides still will meet nine times before the end of the regular season, which will probably carry consequences. The Dodgers are currently four games ahead of the Padres. The Cincinnati Reds are perhaps the other team in the race, as they are 3-½ games back from the Padres.
Something that is very concerning is the Dodgers ability to score late in games. Just yesterday, the Dodgers had bases loaded with two outs, but outfielder Billy McKinney flew out to end the game.
The Dodgers record in one-run games is 13-21, which is among the worst in the league, alongside the Marlins and Diamondbacks, who are nowhere near playoff contention.
But arguably, the arch-nemesis of the Dodgers all season long has been extra innings. The Dodgers are 1-12 in extra-inning games, which has to be a record of some sort for a team as good as Los Angeles. Perhaps it’s the new rule of starting the inning with a runner on second base, but losing 12 straight extra-innings games is quite crazy.
We are a little over two weeks away from September when the division push will really start. If the Dodgers can linger three to four games, and take care of business in the one remaining series against San Francisco, that puts them in a good spot. The season series between the Giants and Dodgers is tied at 8 games. The Dodgers easily could have been two games ahead if it wasn’t for some late-inning meltdowns.
The Giants are currently playing the Rockies in a four-game series. After that, they will begin an 18-game stretch when they play teams within playoff contention ending with the Dodgers. San Francisco will also then play ten games against the Padres in September.
The Dodgers also will have their fair share of tough games, including nine meetings with the Padres, and series against the Mets, Braves, and Brewers, all of whom are in playoff contention.
We will just have to wait and see if the Giants can cool off, because if they don’t, the Dodgers will play their first Wildcard Game in franchise history.
And if they want to make it to a World Series again, they will have to go through two division opponents in all likelihood.
In the meantime, the Dodgers will begin a weekend series with the Mets in New York. Pitching matchups for the weekend include Julio Urias, 13-3 with a 3.41 ERA, against right-hander Tylor Megill, who’s 1-2 with a 3.20 ERA. After that will be Walker Buehler vs righty Taijuan Walker and Max Scherzer vs righty Carlos Carrasco.
The two teams will meet again next weekend at Dodger Stadium. First pitch for Friday’s opener is scheduled at 4:10 p.m. Pacific.