The unofficial first half of the season for the Los Angeles Dodgers was a memorable one as they have a 13.5-game division lead in the National League West and the best record in all of baseball at 60-32 heading into the All-Star break.
While plenty right for the Dodgers, there are still some improvements that need to be made if they want to return to and win the World Series. Their play this past week was less than stellar.
They lost three-straight games to the division rival San Diego Padres, marking the first time they dropped three games in a row at Dodger Stadium.
The Dodgers now have a few days off before resuming play though, except for Cody Bellinger, Max Muncy, Hyun-Jin Ryu, Clayton Kershaw, Walker Buehler, Joc Pederson and the entire coaching staff, who are bound for the All-Star Game.
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts believes that time off will serve his team well and they will be prepared for second half and start of a three-game series against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park, via Ken Gurnick of MLB.com:
“We’ll be ready for the Red Sox,” manager Dave Roberts promised before he and a contingent of Dodgers headed to Cleveland for the All-Star Game and Home Run Derby. “No gathering or message to the team to rally the troops. We know what to do.”
When the Dodgers next take the field, they should have some offensive reinforcements as Corey Seager, A.J. Pollock and David Freese are all expected to be activated from the injured list. The offense struggled mightily against the Padres, so the hope is that getting three key players back will put a jolt into the rest of the team.
Since Roberts has taken over as manager of the Dodgers, they have won the division each year and advanced to the World Series in two of the three, so they have a clear understanding what it takes to be a strong second-half team.
Considering how big the Dodgers’ lead in the NL West is, Roberts should have the luxury of giving players adequate rest in the second half to keep them fresh for a potential postseason run.
Couple that with a trade deadline acquisition or two, and the Dodgers have to be considered the team to beat in the NL once again.