Can Dodgers Catch Giants in National League West?

(Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

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.

10 thoughts on “Can Dodgers Catch Giants in National League West?

  1. The Dodgers are 5 back. The bottom line is they need to win and hope the Giants falter playing tougher competition. The games with the Padres for both the Dodgers and the Giants will be key. Dodgers end the season against the Padres. There is an old saying that the ball will find the weak defender or hitter.
    Bellinger showed his improvement in the last two games and yesterday as he managed to get a walk in the 9th. Unfortunately, McKinney was up and he has not progressed to the point of being able to win the at-bat. This team continues to show it cannot generate a run. If that continues they will not win the WS this year it’s just that simple.

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    1. The Dodgers end the year playing the Brewers, not the Padres. They have 9 games left with SD, all of which are going to be critical. The only good news is that the Padres starting pitching now has some huge holes. Darvish left yesterday with some problems. Lamet is not expected back for a while. Snell has been very hittable. Musgrove has had problems. The Brewers are a huge challenge. But they have 7 with the Mets, 3 with the Braves and 4 with the Cardinals that are equally as daunting. But they can catch SF if the Giants stumble and they get a decent streak of their own going.

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      1. Oops thanks Bear I need to start using my computer instead of my phone to read things1 I didn’t see there were games in October.
        The Brewers will have clinched by then and be in cruise mode hopefully.

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  2. It’s still a damn mystery to me how they have the best record in all of baseball with a roster of bums. It’s the weirdest thing I’ve ever seen. But has there been any word on Kershaw? When I saw he had “forearm tightness” I figured that meant he was headed for Tommy John surgery since 99% of the time that’s what happens when a player has forearm tightness. Have they done an MRI on his elbow?

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    1. There is a great SciFi anthology titled “The Last Hurrah of the Golden Horde”. That is how I look at this Giant team. The nucleus of this aging team won 3 WS Championships and I do not think they were ever the most talented team. They were going to be broke up and many retire soon. Although I am a lifetime Dodger fan and want to beat them badly I respect the fact these guys are fighting for one Last Hurrah! The Giants have grit and are determined to go out winners. I am hoping the Dodgers show some grit. The ability to fight for each at-bat and generate a run is what is missing on this team. The Giants have it can the Dodgers find it?

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      1. Apparently the Giants and Brandon Crawford each think he has at least two more hurrahs in him. Just signed a 2 year, 32 mil extension.

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  3. Seems to me the fact that so many in the Giants’ lineup can hit HRs is making a difference in their remarkable ability to come back from deficits, which also adds to good humor and optimism.

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  4. It doesn’t look like they want to, playing bullpen games and pulling out best hitters like Mookie, JT & Will Smith in a game they should win easy !

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