The Los Angeles Dodgers’ uphill battle to catch the San Francisco Giants in the National League West standings grew more difficult when it became apparent Clayton Kershaw was bound for the 15-day disabled list in late June.
Los Angeles was essentially left for dead when Kershaw suffered a setback after a simulated game, which shut down his recovery. The Dodgers’ fortunes began to change coming out of the All-Star break, however, and on Tuesday they reached the mountain top — for now.
The Dodgers’ fourth straight victory, coupled with a Giants’ loss to the Miami Marlins, left the two rivals in a tie for first place in the NL West.
It’s the first time since May 14 that the Dodgers have at least had a share of first place in the division. They’re 13-9 in the second half, while the Giants are just 7-16 over that same span.
But to a man the Dodgers are taking the ground gained in stride, with a focus on keeping the momentum rolling. “Obviously when you look at the standings, it’s something to I guess hang your hat on a little bit. But the bigger picture is the way we’re going about preparing every day,” manager Dave Roberts said.
“Like I always say, the wins are a byproduct of our preparation and the way we’re playing the game. That’s more of what we’re trying to focus on.” The Dodgers pounded the Philadelphia Phillies for 18 runs on 24 hits, including seven home runs through the first two games of the series.
“If you look at our club on paper, offensively there’s a lot of length. It just didn’t play out the first month of the season,” Roberts said. “There’s really no breaks in our lineup now. We’re as good as any lineup in the National League.”
Seager has two home runs and three RBIs in the past two games. He helped carry the lineup until his veteran teammates found their respective swings. He too downplayed how much attention should be given to how the Giants are faring.
“You try and not worry about what they’re doing right now. If you handle your business then you’ll be there are the end,” he said. “It’s one of those things where we have to keep going and winning series. The job’s not done yet, so you keep going and celebrate it at the end.”
As Yasmani Grandal put it, there’s plenty of baseball left to be played. “The fact that we were six games back at the half and catching up to them right now doesn’t really mean much,” Grandal said.
“You still have two months to play, there are a lot of games and you never know what can happen. But being tied in first place with them, especially how we started the half, is huge.” The Dodgers and Giants have nine regular-season games remaining.
They’ll first meet Aug. 23 for the start of a three-game series at Dodger Stadium. After again playing at Chavez Ravine from Sept. 19-21, the longtime rivals close out the regular season at AT&T Park from Sept. 30 – Oct. 2.