The Los Angeles Dodgers went into the All-Star break trailing the San Francisco Giants by 6.5 games for first place in the National League West. They came out of it to more negative injury news and facing a nine-game road trip.
Given San Francisco’s prolonged stretch of strong play, many were predicting they would run away with the division title. However, the Giants hit a skid and dropped six consecutive games after the break, and are just 1-7 in the unofficial second half of the 2016 season.
The Giants were swept in a three-game series by the San Diego Padres, swept in a two-game set by the Boston Red Sox, and dropped two of three to the New York Yankees.
Los Angeles went 5-4 on their road trip, which included Kenley Jansen blowing two saves that led to the club twice losing in extra innings.
According to Doug Padilla of ESPN, while Adrian Gonzalez wishes one more game went in the the Dodgers’ favor, he was still pleased with the results:
“We’ve been playing good baseball for a while,” Gonzalez said. “If we would have won one more on this road trip we would be feeling really good about it. But we’ll take a winning road trip and winning two series against two of the better teams in the league.”
After a slow start to the season several bats in the lineup have come alive during July. Justin Turner went 16-for-41 (.390) with hit five home runs and 14 RBIs over the road trip, and Howie Kendrick was 16-for-40 (.400) and has a 16-game hitting streak.
Gonzalez skidded a bit against the Arizona Diamondbacks and Washington Nationals but hit well in the last two games of the series against the St. Louis Cardinals. The veteran first baseman slugged a home run in back-to-back games, including a grand slam in Sunday’s victory.
The Giants open their series with the Cincinnati Reds leading the division by only three games. The Dodgers begin a five-game homestand on Tuesday.