The Los Angeles Dodgers reached the All-Star break sitting atop the National League West standings by a half-game and in the midst of the best stretch in the league at 37-17 since May 17. They then excited the fanbase and roster alike by trading for Manny Machado.
The All-Star shortstop was the best available talent ahead of the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline, and he’s further indication of the organization’s commitment to ending their 30-year World Series drought.
For all the fanfare the trade received, Machado and the Dodgers immediately face a series of tests as the second half of the season begins. On top of embarking on a 10-game road trip and playing 17 consecutive days, the stretch calls for matchups with division leaders or playoff hopefuls.
Moreover, the Dodgers will see two teams — the Milwaukee Brewers and Philadelphia Phillies — who were also engaged with the Baltimore Orioles on a potential Machado trade.
Beginning Friday, the Dodgers face the Brewers for three games at Miller Park. Although Milwaukee is just three games back of the Chicago Cubs in the NL Central, they’ve lost six in a row and are 2-8 in their last 10 games.
Prior to the downturn, the Brewers extended their winning streak to five games and were a season-best 18 games above .500. After this weekend’s series the Dodgers and Brewers will meet again for a four-game set at Dodger Stadium, beginning July 30.
From Milwaukee, the Dodgers will travel to Philadelphia for three games at Citizens Bank Park. The Phillies similarly are in a bit of a rut, 5-5 in their last 10, but are 30-16 at home and enter Friday with a half-game lead over the Braves in the NL Central. The Phillies split a four-game set at Dodger Stadium at the end of May.
After Philadelphia it’s on to Atlanta for four games with the Braves, who begin the day in the second NL Wild Card spot. They lost two of three games at Dodger Stadium last month.
Following a home series with the Brewers, the Dodgers will see the World Series champion Houston Astros in a matchup that’s surely to have added intrigue because of the Machado trade. It’s Houston’s first regular-season visit to Dodger Stadium since 2012, their last year in the NL Central.
And it of course is their first time playing at Chavez Ravine since winning Game 7 of the 2017 World Series.
Broadening the scope beyond the Dodgers’ next 17 games, they have 66 remaining on the schedule, of which 29 are against the NL West. Though they don’t see a divisional opponent until Aug. 9, when a four-game road series begins against the Colorado Rockies.
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