The Dodgers finished off one of the greatest months in team history and propelled themselves from last place to 2.5 games ahead of Arizona in the NL West.
In six starts, Kershaw was 4-1 with a staggering 1.34 ERA and was helped along by Hanley, who hit .365 with five home runs and 17 RBIs as the Dodgers completed one of the most historic turnarounds in baseball history. Unfortunately, injuries continued to be the name of the game as Kemp severely rolled his ankle in his first game back in late July.
Supporting characters Ethier and Greinke both put on great performances as the Dodgers swept their first six games after the All-Star break. The Dodgers also traded for Ricky Nolasco, Carlos Marmol and signed the beard himself, Brian Wilson as they looked to bolster their entire pitching staff before the playoff push.
Puig also had a flare for the dramatics on the 28th as he hit his first career walk off home run and chose to slide into home plate, angering many.
For the month, the Dodgers posted a 2.07 ERA amongst starters as they continued to stretch their NL West lead to 10.5 games. Greinke took home NL Pitcher of the Month honors as he went 5-0 with a 1.01 ERA and the Dodgers were closing in on their first trip to the playoffs since 2009.
Hanley and A-Gon both had four home runs while three of the eight starters hit over .300 for the month. The Dodgers started the month winning 14 of 15 games and swept the likes of the Cubs, Rays and Mets while taking three of four from the Cardinals at Busch Stadium.
The Dodgers also bolstered their pitching staff with the addition of Edinson Volquez as they tried to stay sharp for the playoff push.
The danger in having such a wide margin in the NL West was the Dodgers didn’t play their regulars on a consistent basis. Minor injuries to Gonzalez and Puig knocked them out of the lineup for a day or two, while Hanley was dealing with yet another serious injury.
An irritated nerve in his back led to hamstring tightness, causing Hanley to have to leave the game on the 12th, but would come back before season’s end.
The real drama was Poolgate as the Dodgers clinched their first beth back into the playoffs with a 7-6 win at Arizona and celebrated in style. After the Diamondbacks asked them not to come back onto the field, the Dodgers took to the pool and partied, rubbing some the wrong way.
Senator John McCain even chimed in and called the Dodgers “spoiled brats”, whatever that means. Mattingly rested guys regularly and the Dodgers didn’t get home field advantage and finished the season with a below .500 record against the NL West.
Thus, the 2013 regular season came to a close and it’s on to Atlanta for Game 1 of the NLDS on Thursday as Kershaw and Kris Medlen will start things off.
In case you missed it, here’s the Dodgers pool celebration, PLUS Yasiel Puig’s celebration dance off!