The Dodgers sprinted out of the gate this
season, leading the Majors in wins for a good part of the first half of the year. As we pause for the All Star break, however, the Dodgers have slowed considerably, thanks in part to some key injuries, and come back to the field.
L.A. owned the best record in the Majors going into June. But, at that exact moment the Dodgers suffered a severe hit, as MVP candidate Matt
Kemp went back on the DL after re-aggravating a hamstring injury.
Since then LA has gone 15-21, and stumbled into the All-Star
break, losing the last three games of a series in Arizona.
The Dodgers do go into the break with a lead in the NL West,
but what was once an eight-game advantage is now down to a half-game. L.A. has
tried to cough up first place, but the Giants haven't yet seemed to want it bad
Both those teams might want to kick it in gear, because the
defending division champion Diamondbacks
are on the rally, and trail LA by just four games.
With Kemp, Without
Los Angeles weathered the first storm of the season, Kemp's
first stint on the DL, going 9-5 without a guy who was hitting .355 with 12
homers through the first six weeks. Kemp then returned to the lineup for about
a half-cup of coffee, immediately re-tweaked his hammy and hasn't played since.
This time L.A. has struggled mightily with the bats, ending the first half of
the season on a stretch of 21 games in which they were held to three runs or
fewer 17 times, including six shut-outs.
On the glass-half-full side of thought, maybe the Dodgers
shouldn't feel so bad. Kemp has missed more than half the season, SP Ted Lilly
has been out for the last six weeks and Andre Ethier is on the DL, and yet the
Dodgers are in first place.
In more good news, both Kemp and Ethier are eligible to come
off the DL in time to be in the lineup when L.A. begins the second half of this
season Friday night vs. San Diego at Chavez Ravine.
Lilly, however, isn't expected back for at least another
month, if not longer.
Blue Crew Arms
Staff ace Clayton Kershaw is an All-Star, with a 2.91 ERA
and 12 quality starts in 18 chances. So, while he's been doing his job, his 6-5
record indicates others – as in the batters - have not been doing theirs.
Two-man Chad Billingsley, on the other hand, is not living
up to expectations with a 4-9 record and a 4.30 ERA. He limped into the break on
a five-game losing streak, having given up 20 runs over his last 29 innings.
L.A. really can't have asked for much more from three-man
Aaron Harang and four-man Chris Capuano, who are a combined 15-9 with 18
quality starts this season.
Finally, in the five-spot, Nathan Eovaldi, pitching in
Lilly's place, is four-for-eight on quality starts, and actually hadn't pitched
too badly, other than a couple recent outings. The Dodgers' offensive woes have been the main reason for their 1-7
record in his starts.
Out in the bullpen Kenley Jansen is 15-for-18 on save
opportunities since taking over as closer, and hasn't allowed a run in almost a
Of Interest to
L.A. went off this season with a regular-season wins
OVER/UNDER of 81.5. So, for those out there who took the OVER, the Dodgers
only need to win 35 of their last 75 games for them to cash in. On the other
side of that proposition, those who took the UNDER need LA to lose at least 42
of its last 75 games for them to win their wager.
The Dodgers also
began this season getting right around +550 to win the NL West, 20/1 to win the
NL pennant and upwards of 45/1 to win the World Series. As of Monday, Bovada is
listing the Dodgers at +160 to win the West, 7/1 to win the pennant and 16/1 to
win the Series.