July 12, 2015; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers first baseman Adrian Gonzalez (23) is greeted by second baseman Howie Kendrick (47) after hitting a two run home run in the eighth inning against the Milwaukee Brewers at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
It wasn’t pretty, but at 51-39, the Los Angeles Dodgers have a four and a half game lead in the NL West. They would be in first place in four of the six divisions in baseball, with only the St. Louis Cardinals, Kansas City Royals and Pittsburgh Pirates boasting better records. The Dodgers’ +62 run differential is the fifth best in baseball, only behind the three aforementioned teams and the Toronto Blue Jays, who despite being a game under .500 have a +82 run differential.
Despite all of that, the first half of the season felt torturous at times. According to the guys at Dodgers Digest, the Dodgers have their fourth highest winning percentage through 90 games over the last 20 years. As Molly Knight points out in her fantastic book, The Best Team Money Can Buy, “talent usually wins out over the course of 162 games”. The rest of the division has talent, but the Dodgers have an abundance of it. Other than possibly shortstop, it’s hard to find a hole in the Dodgers starting lineup. Dodger fans aren’t content with winning the division and making the playoffs, as it’s been nearly 27 years since the Dodgers’ last world series appearance.
The Dodgers will be in the postseason, and as the last couple seasons have shown, once the calendar hits October it becomes a crapshoot. However, the second half should reveal whether the Dodgers will be legitimate contenders or be looking at another early exit.