Coming off a run into the 2013 National League Championship Series, the Los Angeles Dodgers entered this season as a favorite to reach the World Series. Despite injuries and subpar play from key contributors, the expectations have largely remained the same.
Clayton Kershaw has twice called the season “World Series or bust” and on a personal level has supported his statement with one remarkable outing after another. Although there was plenty of time left in the season, the Dodgers held a six-game lead over the San Francisco Giants in late August that’s since been dwindled to two games.
With the regular season in the final stretch, general manager Ned Colletti said the Dodgers need to play focused in order to make another run in October, via Bill Plaschke of the LA Times:
Guys are mentally tired, it’s a long season, but if you’re going to play deep into October, you’ve got to continually play with passion and focus.”
With series against the Washington Nationals now in the books, the Dodgers have a favorable schedule for the remainder of September. The six games with the Giants are the only time they’ll play a team in postseason contention.
Although the arrival of Joc Pederson has added more fuel to the outfield fire, the Dodgers can play free of any trade rumors becoming a distraction. The team was rumored to be interested in adding a reliever to the roster, but the waivers deadline came and passed without the Dodgers making any additional trades.
The Dodgers’ health has also improved as Hyun-Jin Ryu and Juan Uribe returned from the disabled list within the past week. Although the schedule appears light on difficulty, the Dodgers attempt to repeat as NL West champions and make the postseason will be much different than last year when they ran away from a fading Arizona Diamondbacks team.
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