Saying that the Dodgers are white-hot at the moment would be the understatement of the year. They are playing so well that it might be time to make them the outright favorite in the National League.
After completing their sweep of division rival the Colorado Rockies, the Dodgers extended their win streak to ten games and have won 16 of their last 17 games. They now have a 4.5 game lead over the upstart Rockies and hold a 2.5 game lead over the Arizona Diamondbacks in the NL West. There aren’t may superlatives left to describe them
At 51-26, the Dodgers are the first and only team in the NL that has reached the 50-win barrier. In fact, the Houston Astros are the only other team in all of baseball to have at least 50 wins.
LA is playing in arguably the toughest division in baseball, one where the three best teams in the NL (record wise) reside. The NL West has an unprecedented three teams with a winning percentage over .600. The third place team, the Rockies, in is on pace for 98 wins. Just think about that for a second.
All this makes the Dodgers being the top dogs even more impressive. They are on pace for an outrageous 107 wins (41-13 in games Cody Bellinger starts). They just keep winning, even games they aren’t supposed to. They are dominating opponents, shown by their MLB-best +138 run differential and like my colleague Cesar Becerra said, LA has a special magic surrounding them this year. This is probably the best team LA has trotted out in a long time.
It’s easy to look at the Washington Nationals’ (2-1) and Arizona Diamondbacks’ (4-3) season record against LA and say that they are better teams. However, that would be lazy. First off, the Nationals caught the Dodgers at a time when LA’s offense was slumping hard. Their pitching held up, but LA was struggling to score runs that whole week, save for a ten run outburst.
And the Dodgers faced the Diamondbacks early in the season when LA started off slow and was still finding their footing. They are an entirely different team now.
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Just take the Rockies for example. Colorado had a 5-4 record against Los Angeles before this past weekend but left with a 5-7 record against and was outscored by the Boys in Blue 22-7.
The Rockies were given a reality check. The Dodgers still rule the NL West until further notice. It would not be a surprise if the same thing happened to Arizona next week when they come to Dodger Stadium.
Now you may want to say that the Chicago Cubs are still the team to beat because they are the reigning champs. Well, they are 38-37 and lost the season series to the Dodgers two games to four, which included a sweep at Chavez Ravine. The Dodgers also took care of business against the NL Central-leading Milwaukee Brewers.
The Los Angeles Dodgers are the most complete team in the NL, and arguably all of baseball. They have an elite offense (top-5 in baseball in runs and OPS) that has scored 120 runs over the last 16 games, and the best pitching staff in baseball (starters and bullpen combined) that paces the entire MLB in team ERA. Not to mention a smart, risk-taking manager who knows how to manage a bullpen and whose decisions usually pay off.
The Nationals have a terrible bullpen; the Cubs have a mediocre starting rotation, the Brewers are not great in any one facet, not to mention they are young and untested so probably won’t last. The other two contenders are the Rockies and Diamondbacks, and the Dodgers are better than those two.
The best record in the National League, battle-tested, experienced, and the deepest and most talented roster in baseball with no real weaknesses? In addition, Yasiel Puig and Joc Pederson are heating up and Clayton Kershaw has yet to truly find his groove. It’s starting to look like the National League’s road to the World Series will run through Tinseltown.