The Los Angeles Dodgers have not had the ideal start to their eight-game road trip. After a heartbreaker on Tuesday night, the Dodgers dropped Wednesday’s game in which they again held a lead, resulting being swept by the Oakland Athletics.
Like the Dodgers, the San Francisco Giants have endured a recent rough stretch and trail Los Angeles by 2.5 games for first place in the National League West beginning Friday. As the season winds down, teams are focused on positioning themselves for the postseason, which of course requires players to either begin or continue hitting their stride.
After a disappointing first half, Jimmy Rollins has turned the corner and been a catalyst for the Dodgers. The 15-year veteran has been widely described as a second half player and he recently discussed the importance of the Dodgers putting together a successful month in September, via Ken Gurnick of MLB.com:
You can start gaining momentum, but it is early,” said Rollins. “When September comes around, you don’t want off-days. It’s a really strange schedule, start and go, start and go. In September, you want everybody running downhill, everybody on the same page, playing day in and day out and playing winning baseball.”
The Dodgers are just 9-8 thus far through August, enduring a five-game losing streak at one point, which includes being swept by the Pittsburgh Pirates. Howie Kendrick suffered a hamstring injury Aug. 9 and was placed on the 15-day disabled list the following day.
Kiké Hernandez has filled in admirably, and the Dodgers now have Chase Utley as another fill-in option at second base. As for Rollins, who brings with him plenty of postseason experience, he’s batting .257/.311/.442 since the All-Star break and .297/.347/.484 with three home runs and eight RBIs in the last 28 days (23 games, 22 starts).
The Dodgers begin a three-game series with the Giants at home on Aug. 31, then travel to San Francisco for a four-game set on Sept. 28.