Dodgers Vital Week Goes Well
By Alex Campos
The Dodgers just had their toughest stretch of the season. It went a lot better than expected.
Those have you that have read this site this season probably think I’m an optimistic person. Last week, I wrote a piece about last week’s road trip. At the time, the Dodgers were a game behind the Giants. They were about to play at Philly and Cinci, while the Giants hosted the Pirates and Mets.
My main concern was this last week. The Dodgers were to return home for three game sets against the Giants and Cubs. The Giants used an off day to line up Madison Bumgarner, Johnny Cueto and Matt Moore to start in LA. The Cubs were 30 games over .500. While the Dodgers faced the Cubs, the Giants hosted the Braves.
I expected the Dodgers to take the lead in the division before their homestand. The point of my article was that the bigger lead they had, the better I’d feel about the homestand. They ended up forgetting how to baseball for a couple days in Cincinnati, so their lead prior to the homestand was one game.
I am usually optimistic, but I’d be lying if I was feeling good about this homestand. The Dodgers took over first place, but I was hoping they’d have a multiple game lead. Mainly, I wanted the Dodgers to get out of this week within three games of the Giants. I expected a series loss against the Giants, and I would have been elated to win one of three against the Cubs. For once, I was wrong.
The Giants’ series was all backwards. They teed off against Bumgarner and the Giant bullpen en route to a 9-5 win. Then, they shut the Giants out and a Justin Turner solo homer was the only offense they needed in game two. I’d rather not talk about game three, as they were an out away from getting no-hit.
The first two games of this series was as pleasant as the finale was bad. The finale also came on the heels of the A.J. Ellis trade, which while it makes sense for baseball reasons, left a bad taste in everyone’s mouths. The team was down, they came three strikes away from embarrassment, and they were about to welcome the best team in baseball to Chavez Ravine. It was not a great time.
The series against the Cubs started off about as expected. The Dodgers kept pace with the Cubs, but the bullpen faltered and the Cubs won in extras. The Dodgers rebounded to win the last two against the Cubs, as Julio Urias and Brock Stewart combined for 11 innings of shutout ball. Both games were decided by a run, but they were on the right side of both pitchers’ duels.
The Dodgers went 4-2 on this homestand. They won games started by Bumgarner, Cueto, Jason Hammel and Jon Lester, but lost the games started by Moore and Mike Montgomery. Also, those were the two games I went to. Thanks, team.
They had a brutally scheduled week. They came into the week with a one game lead, and they leave with a two game lead. Most of the injury news has been positive of late, with Clayton Kershaw and Andre Ethier inching closer to returns. Rich Hill looked phenomenal in his first outing, and while the Dodgers had a few frustrating stretches, they had a very positive week. I was fully expecting to write a “Why the Dodgers aren’t out of the race yet” piece, but the Dodgers not only kept their division lead, but they grew it as the Braves took one of three in SF.
The Dodgers have two series remaining against teams not in the NL West. They hit them on the same road trip, as they travel to Miami and the Bronx. The Marlins have started to fall back to earth and the Yankees are playing good baseball, but neither of those series should give the Dodgers too many issues. Meanwhile, the Giants still have four to play at Wrigley and in St. Louis.
This next series concerns me for the Dodgers. You should know my feelings about Coors Field by now. It’s never easy there, so if the Dodgers can escape without any major injuries, I’ll call it a win. After that, the Dodgers should begin to separate in the West.
In a perfect world, the six remaining games against the Giants will be meaningless in the division race. They each play 19 games before the next three-game series between the two, in LA. It would be really nice for my blood pressure if the Dodgers had a large lead heading into the final 13 games of the season, six of which will be against the Giants.
For now, good job Dodgers. They took two big series that they probably should have lost. There’s still a lot of baseball left, but being two games up right now feels pretty great.