The Los Angeles Dodgers ended the weekend where they started it, still just one game out of first place.
The Dodgers took two of three from the Reds in Cincinnati, and the Atlanta Braves could only muster one win against the San Francisco Giants.
Both teams are off Monday, before starting series against other NL West teams. The Dodgers will be in Colorado for three, and the Giants will be in San Diego to take on the Padres. If the Friars want to have any chance at the postseason, they need to give the Giants everything they have. They are currently 3.5 games out of the Wild Card race, behind the St Louis Cardinals, Reds, and tied with the Philadelphia Phillies.
Clayton Kershaw made his second start since coming off of the injured list on Sunday, going five full innings and throwing 74 pitches. He allowed only three hits, one earned run, and struck out eight. His first two innings looked as much like Vintage Kershaw as we have seen in awhile.
Via Daniel Brim on Twitter, Kershaw has a 16.8% swinging strike rate so far this season, which is the highest of his career. He’s throwing his slider almost 50% of the time also, gathering those swinging strikes. Having a really good Kershaw as the third or fourth starter, should the Dodgers advance in the playoffs, would be a huge advantage for Los Angeles.
The entire pitching staff for the Dodgers has been phenomenal this season. Via Jon Wiseman on Twitter, the Dodgers have the lowest second-half ERA of any NL team in 40 years. The staff has a 2.64 ERA, and a 40-19 record in that span. Craig Minami adds that the Dodgers 137 ERA+ is the lowest since the 1909 Chicago Cubs. This team boast the starter with the most wins in the Majors, Julio Urías with 18, and the MLB leader in ERA, Max Scherzer at 2.08.
Their total team ERA is the only one is the majors under three, at 2.97.
Unfortunately maybe for the Dodgers, is that the next two teams behind them are the Giants and the Milwaukee Brewers, both teams they would have to beat to make it to the World Series (assuming the Brewers beat the NL East winners).
The offense is starting to score more consistently, scoring at least five runs in every game but one in the last eight games. More importantly, the offense has mostly not been reliant on the home run to score.
FanGraphs gives the Dodgers an ever-so-slight edge to win the NL West. The Dodgers have a 50.6% chance, and the Giants 49.4% chance. The Dodgers chances of winning the World Series are much higher than the Giants, however, at 21.0% to 6.1%.
The Dodgers definitely have the full roster to do so. Winning the division will make that dream that much easier, but will still be an uphill battle as long as the Giants keep winning. But anything could happen in a season that has seen a bunch of crazy things. Stay tuned.