It was just a mere three weeks ago that the Los Angeles Dodgers were looking up at the San Francisco Giants in the standings down 9.5 games. On Sunday, they pulled even with the Giants and are currently tied for first place in the National League West.
The turnaround for the Dodgers didn’t come as a surprise for players, having come back from an even greater deficit in 2013. The team would go on a 42-8 run and remarkably win the division by 11 games.
Clayton Kershaw was confident all along that the team could make another run in the standings via Steve Dilbeck of the LA Times:
Everybody in here is confident in the team’s ability,” said left-hander Clayton Kershaw. “When we were struggling early, I think everybody knew in the backs of our minds that we could turn it around.”
While Kershaw is happy to see the Dodgers rebound from a bad start to the season he is well aware there is still a lot of work to be done this season.
Coming back and tying up the Giants in a month is not something we expected. Just like we didn’t expect to go 42-8 last year. We have that ability. It goes back to being a veteran team and not getting too high or too low.”
Kershaw has been one of the major catalysts in the recent hot streak, going 6-0 with an 0.82 ERA in June, including a no-hitter.
Starting catcher A.J. Ellis also voiced his opinion on the Dodgers rise to the top of the standings:
I think going through it last year really helps,” said catcher A.J. Ellis. “We obviously went on an extra-special run last year and were able to make up ground. I think that’s why everyone in this clubhouse never really felt like we were out of it when we were 9 1/2 back.”
Ellis has been on the disabled list twice this season, but is finally healthy and has given the bottom of the lineup an added boost. His work with the starting pitchers must also be noted, as they have not allowed more than two walks in a start in over a month.
The Dodgers and Giants have gone in opposite directions in June, putting them on even ground with just over three full months left in the season. It will be an interesting division race, especially with nine games left between the two and six in September alone.
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