Before the Dodgers go toe-to-toe with the San Diego Padres next week, they’ll enjoy six games against teams that aren’t exactly setting the world on fire right now. The Dodgers’ next two series are against the Philadelphia Phillies (32-31) and the Arizona Diamondbacks (20-46). Those two series provide the perfect opportunity to regain control of the NL West lead prior to playing a trio of playoff contenders: Padres, Cubs, and Giants.
How the Dodgers perform play in the second half of June could shape the rest of the regular season.
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Not to be greedy, but anything less than series wins, if not sweeps, against Arizona and Philadelphia would be letdowns. The Dodgers, fresh off a series against the hapless Texas Rangers, have a fantastic opportunity to stack up wins.
This team has been hot and cold so far this year. After starting 13-2, the Dodgers posted a 5-15 stretch the next 20 games. They haven’t been in first place in the NL West since April 28th.
If the Dodgers can take care of business in June, it could set them up for a summer atop of the NL West. Three games against the worst team in baseball. Three games against an East Coast club kicking off a West Coast road trip. Then, six of eight against two division rivals who won their most recent respective series against the Dodgers.
Stringing together wins in June could signal a return to first place in the division. Faltering might indicate that it will be a long game of musical chairs at the top of the NL West.
The difference between running away with the NL West or battling through July, August, and September might be defined by the next few weeks.