Yes, it’s true. The race for first place bragging rights is on as the Los Angeles Dodgers are now only one game back behind the San Francisco Giants. It has taken 87 days of work for the Boys in Blue to finally catch up to San Fran. But they did it, and the Dodgers are now back in the battle for the top spot in the NL West. And the most ironic part is that they did it without ace pitcher, Clayton Kershaw, on the mound.

Who would have even imagined that following Kershaw going down on the DL back in late June, the Dodgers would rise up to become one of the most winning teams in baseball?

The NL West is Now Officially Up for Grabs

Although they still have 48 games left in the regular season, 9 of those being against the Giants, it is still incredibly exciting and encouraging that the Dodgers have fought their way back to the top of the NL West.

Despite breaking the NL record for having the most players go down on the DL throughout the season, including six of those players being starting pitchers, the Dodgers have done the unexpected and proven many critics wrong along the way. As a team, they have come together and shown that it doesn’t matter who is on the mound that day, or who is in the batters’ box, the Boys in Blue will fight till the very last out.

These wins can be directly attributed to the combination of three key pieces in the Dodger’s game that has improved greatly since Kershaw went down in late June.

First off, the Dodgers have a remarkably deep 40-man roster, in which, nearly every player listed has been called upon to do a job at one point or another throughout the season, due to the massive amount of injuries.

Second of all, there’s no arguing that the bullpen has been stepping up huge for the team as Dodger starting pitchers are only averaging about 4.5 innings as of late.

Lastly, the Dodger’s offense has been nearly unstoppable.

But for now, let’s focus on what has lead to the explosion of the Dodger’s offense. The Dodger’s bats couldn’t have come alive at a more perfect time. Ever since the All-Star break, hitting seems to be contagious in the Dodger’s lineup and the team has collectively caught fire.

Making a Case for Dave Roberts as NL Manager of the Year

They are currently leading the MLB in team batting average (.273) and slugging percentage (.464). They’re also ranked 6th in the MLB for HRs (32) and 3rd for RBIs (115).

It looks as if the entire team has been feeling good in the box since the All-Star break and at one point or another, almost every single player has come through big for the offense. But the main players that have stepped up and stood out this past month and a half have been Howie Kendrick, Adrian Gonzalez, Justin Turner, Corey Seager, and Yasmani Grandal.

As you can recall, Kendrick had his exciting 16-game hitting streak going on during the month of July, which helped bump up his overall average to .265 after having a rocky start to the 2016 season. Since the All-Star break, Kendrick is now ranked 5th amongst Dodger starters with his BA,  3rd in both runs scored (14) and doubles (5), and 4th in hits (25).

Although he had a slower first half than us Dodger fans have become accustomed to, Dodger clubhouse leader, Adrian Gonzalez, has also heated up during the month of July.

You might remember his slump back in June where he was batting .223. Thankfully, following sitting out for a couple of games against the Pirates back in late June, combined with taking some time off during the All-Star Break, the Gonzo we all know and love is back. Following the All-Star break, A-Gon is hitting .313, with 26 hits including 4 doubles, 3 HRs and 10 RBIs.

He also racked in his 300th home run of his career in a win vs. the Boston Red Sox.

It sure doesn’t hurt that Corey Seager and Justin Turner are both having record breaking seasons.

Corey Seager: The Rookie Sensation

Seager is on track to become one of the best rookie shortstops to ever wear the Dodger uniform, while Turner has proven to be one of the most dangerous hitters in the Dodger’s lineup.

The two sluggers are currently leading the Dodgers with 21 HRs. This number continues to rise after almost every game as no pitcher seems to be able to stop either of them from hitting the ball out of the park.

When discussing players heating up during July, you cannot forget to mention Yasmani Grandal.

Since July 1, Yaz has hit 11 home runs. Yes, 11 … With a current season total of 18 HRs, Grandal has already broken his previous single season HR record (16) and there’s still 48 games remaining in the regular season.

Yaz attributes this massive power surge to finally being completely healthy and regaining his bat speed.

Solving The Dodgers Impending Roster Crunch

So, as for the Los Angeles Dodgers, there’s no debating whether or not they have come out ready to fight and win every single game, despite any obstacle, or injury, that may have gotten in their way. There’s also no debating that the Dodgers have rose up against all odds and actually improved as a team since Kershaw went down on the DL.

The Boys in Blue have shown that they are a true team and not just made up of a couple of star players that will carry them to the playoffs. Every single player on this roster has shown that they have the ability to help this team win. With less then 50 games left in the regular season, the Dodgers are right where they want to be.

Let’s hope their bats stay hot and they continue to play as a team, and The Boys in Blue will end up finishing exactly where they are supposed to be … Champions of the NL West.

But for now, whether the Dodgers are tied with the Giants for first place by the end of this week, down by 3 games the next or hop out in front by 8 games by the time the season ends (now wouldn’t that be awesome), avoid focusing too much on the standings right now. The Dodgers are well prepared to win this battle against the Giants. Dodger’s manager, Dave Roberts, says it best…

The Dodgers will host the Pittsburgh Pirates at home for 3-games before heading out for 7 road games.

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3 Responses

  1. Arodc03

    I had a disagreement not to long ago with a buddy about which team is referred to as the “The Boys in Blue”, KC Royals or the Dodgers? I see I’m not the only that thinks Dodgers when I hear that name.

    Reply

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