The Los Angeles Dodgers have won the National League West the last two seasons, and have led the division all but a handful of days in 2015.
However, their lead over the San Francisco Giants is down to 1.5 games, the lowest it has been in months as the Dodgers have lost five consecutive games.
Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw has been masterful lately after starting the season off slow. He allowed two runs in 15 innings in his last two outings, but has nothing to show for it as the Dodgers bullpen lost both games.
Kershaw had 10 strikeouts in eight innings on Sunday and only allowed one run on seven hits. However, he watched helplessly as the Houston Astros tied the game against Kenley Jansen in the ninth, then won on Justin Castro’s walk-off home run against Chris Hatcher in the 10th.
Kershaw said after the loss some panic and a sense of urgency would be a positive, according to Pedro Moura of the OC Register:
“I hope we’re panicking a little bit. I think panic’s a good thing, to a certain extent,” Kershaw said. “It’s August whatever-it-is and we have five weeks and whatever it is, too. There needs to be a sense of urgency — maybe that’s better to say than panic. I feel like we have to start playing like that.”
If the Dodgers don’t feel any urgency, they can look no further than their upcoming schedule, which has seven games remaining against the Giants. The first of the two series begins Aug. 31 at Dodger Stadium, with a four-game series at AT&T Park beginning Sept. 28.
By going to a four-man rotation on the road trip, the Dodgers have aligned their starters so that Zack Greinke and Kershaw will take the ball in both series against the Giants.