On August 23, the Los Angeles Dodgers were in the midst of a five-game losing streak and led the San Francisco Giants by just 1.5 games in the National League West. The team had been no-hit two days prior and it seemed as if the club was falling apart. However, since then the team has been able to turn it around dramatically.
Following Monday night’s victory against the Colorado Rockies, the Dodgers improved their record to 83-60 and lead the Giants by 7.5 games. Since that five-game losing streak in August, the first-place Dodgers have won a remarkable 16 out of 20 games, including two separate five-game winning streaks.
While the team has played great baseball of late, they’ve had to do it without some of their key players. Yasiel Puig, Howie Kendrick, and Kiké Hernandez are all currently on the disabled list with hamstring injuries.
With the postseason approaching, Dodgers manager Don Mattingly discussed whether his coaching staff is considering giving his players a breather in order to get to full strength. “We’re not thinking about resting guys, honestly, unless they need rest,” the manager said. “If it’s risk of injury, then they get rest. We’re playing our guys and trying to put the best lineup out there every night.”
The current magic number to clinch the NL West is 12. It would take a monumental collapse for the club to squander the division lead. However, Mattingly isn’t looking to let up now.
“I think we’re trying to stay on the gas and keep taking care of our own business, not looking back and thinking about what anybody else is doing.”
With their big division lead, Mattingly went on to discuss whether or not the team takes a different approach during the last 19 games. “Having a little bit of a cushion you can be more cautious,” he remarked. “Other than that, you’re not really doing anything differently. You try to stay on the gas and just go.”
The Dodgers skipper may have the right mindset as the New York Mets trail the Dodgers by just a game in the overall standings. The two teams will likely meet in the first round of the playoffs. The Dodgers currently hold a 48-21 record at Chavez Ravine, so starting the playoffs at home appears to be to their advantage.