After starting the second half of the season by dropping two out of three against the St. Louis Cardinals, the Los Angeles Dodgers took on the Pittsburgh Pirates and also found themselves only winning game.

However, things were much different for the Dodgers over the weekend as the team finished off their road trip by sweeping the San Francisco Giants.

Grade of the Week: B+

Pros: The top three of the pitching rotation all did their jobs over the week by having strong outings. It was no coincidence the Dodgers won the games Zack Greinke, Clayton Kershaw and Hyun-Jin Ryu Ryu started.

Ryu began the week against the Pirates and held them to two runs in a 5-2 Dodger win. He ended it by striking out seven Giants in the Dodgers’ 4-3 win.

Both Greinke and Kershaw kept the Giants scoreless on Friday and Saturday. Greinke showed his control by only walking one batter while getting 10 strikeouts. Continuing his dominant season, Kershaw threw his fourth complete game of the year.

Both pitchers were also aided by strong run support. On Friday night, the Dodger offense exploded in the fifth inning by scoring five runs as part of an 8-1 win. Yasiel Puig had a historic night as he hit three triples and became the first Dodger to do so since 1901.

On Saturday, the Dodgers scored five runs to back up Kershaw’s performance with Adrian Gonzalez, Hanley Ramirez and Juan Uribe all driving in runs throughout the night.

Another batter that had a strong week was Matt Kemp. Despite being involved in trade rumors, Kemp hit .409 against the Pirates and Giants while getting four RBIs of his own.

Cons: Not much could be said about the backend of the Dodgers’ rotation. Both Josh Beckett and Dan Haren struggled against the Pirates.

In his first start since coming off the disabled list, Beckett couldn’t get out the fourth inning having allowed three home runs in his short appearance. The Pirates got into a groove and rode the momentum, eventually scoring 12 runs on the night as they punished the Dodgers’ pitching staff.

As for Haren, he continued his struggles by once again getting himself in a hole early. During the first inning, he allowed the Pirates to score four runs. The Pirates scored on him again in the second and had the Dodgers trailing 5-0 for most of the night and they would fall, 6-1.

Overall: Despite the trouble at the end of the rotation, the Dodgers found themselves back on top of the NL West standings.

The team seemed to make the three-game set with the Giants a priority sending out their big arms against them. Puig and Ramirez also returned to the lineup against the Giants and made an impact.

With Haren continuing to struggle, the Dodgers find themselves in a tough position. Manager Don Mattingly has opted to skip his next scheduled start, but as the trade deadline looms, general manager Ned Colletti may want to bolster the rotation by adding another starting pitcher.
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