There wasn’t a champagne celebration or feelings of a job now complete, but the month of June did come with bubbles, dancing and one fire.
The Los Angeles Dodgers finished 18-10 in June and atop the NL West standings. It was quite the memorable month for the Boys in Blue, who were 7.5 games back of the San Francisco Giants when the month began and their deficit grew to as many as 9.5 games on June 8.
Behind strong pitching, timely hitting and winning in bunches, the Dodgers managed to overtake their rivals in the North. On three separate occasions, the Dodgers strung along three-game winning streaks.
The successful month included going on an 11-4 tear as the Giants skidded to a 3-12 finish in the month. The Dodgers were never able put together a four-game winning streak, but it wasn’t needed as the Giants went on multiple losing streaks dating back to June 9.
June was also of significance for Matt Kemp and Clayton Kershaw. Kemp had a bit of a resurrection after a rocky start to the season that eventually led to his benching and removal from center field. Along with settling in as a left fielder, Kemp hit .320 with 16 RBIs and a .905 OPS.
While it was unquestionably a group effort to vault to the top of the NL West, no Dodger had a better month of June than Kershaw. The left-hander threw his first career no-hitter and finished 6-0 with a 0.82 ERA and 61 strikeouts to only four walks in 44 innings.
Joining Kershaw’s efforts from the mound was Josh Beckett. The right-hander was a pedestrian 2-2 over five June starts but had a 1.36 ERA, which lowered his overall ERA to 2.11 — good for third in the NL. The month came to an impressive end as Dan Haren allowed just one hit over seven shutout innings.
Brian Wilson and Kenley Jansen then combined to finish the game also without allowing a hit and the Dodgers won on Haren’s solid start and a key Clint Robinson pinch-hit.
It wasn’t quite the 19-6 July or 23-6 August of last season, but the Dodgers have once again appeared to hit their stride as summer arrived. They will now need to sustain it as the Giants won’t necessarily continue to go quietly into the night.
The Dodgers certainly haven’t.
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