With a 4.5-game lead in the division and only six games remaining, the Los Angeles Dodgers are in the driver’s seat to repeat as NL West champions.
The Dodgers’ magic number to clinch the division is now three, which means two wins against the San Francisco Giants will get the job done. Given the history between the storied rivals, Dan Haren said clinching the division with wins over the Giants would be enjoyable, via Bill Plunkett of the OC Register:
Clinching against them, of course, would be great. I’ve been clinched on many times and it’s not a good feeling. It would be great against your rival.”
Haren is taking the ball on an extra day of rest as manager Don Mattingly opted to go with a bullpen game Sunday. The Dodgers swept the Giants at AT&T Park to move into first place of the division.
They’ve since maintained their position atop the NL West and Haren said that’s left them in a good position:
We’ve played really well to put ourselves in a good position. Now we don’t have to sweep, just play good ball. … We’ve put ourselves in position so it’s not do or die.”
The Dodgers then took two of three from the Giants in a series that began 10 days ago to increase their division lead. Haren’s opportunity to pitch in the series is at the cost of Hyun-Jin Ryu, who is still sidelined with shoulder irritation.
Following Haren in the series is Zack Greinke and Clayton Kershaw, who both pitched in the each of the last two series against the Giants due to Mattingly purposely aligning the rotation that way.
Whereas the Dodgers are coming off winning three of four in their series against the Chicago Cubs, the Giants were swept over the weekend by the San Diego Padres.