Can the Dodgers hold serve heading into the All-Star break?
It wasn’t supposed to be such a steep climb but when the Arizona Diamondbacks got off to such a hot start and the Dodgers stumbled coming out of the gate, first place looked as far away as the peak of El Capitan but with a trio of Monster drinks in their backpack the Dodgers have surmounted the peak and stand in first place.
It wasn’t easy, the team suffered injury after injury:
- Lost Tom Koehler before the season started
- Lost MVP candidate Corey Seager for the year shortly after the season started
- Lost Hyun-Jin Ryu until after the All-Star break
- Lost MVP candidate Justin Turner for six weeks before the season started
- Lost Puig for multiple weeks
- Lost Clayton Kershaw for multiple weeks
- Lost rookie sensation Walker Buehler for multiple weeks
- Lost relief pitchers Pedro Baez, Tony Cingrani
- When Dennis Santana came up to help the rotation they lost him within a week until late August at best.
Through those injuries, they found some gold nuggets.
Max Muncy replaced Justin Turner at 3rd base, moved to 1st base when Justin Turner came back, and is now the starting 2nd baseman when he’s not playing 3rd or 1st base. He has also been the best player on the Dodgers and probably none of this happens if Justin Turner does not get hit by a pitch.
Ross Stripling stepped in for Ryu and is now an All-Star
The Dodgers will finish the first half with three games against the beleaguered Angels who can’t seem to keep a pitcher on the mound. Their ace Ohtani can only DH and is not allowed to pitch. The second best pitcher Garrett Richards is going to have Tommy John surgery this weekend. The Dodgers will be facing Felix Pena a 28-year-old with all of four major league starts to his name and Deck McGuire a 29-year-old who also has all of four major league starts to his name. The Angels have had twelve pitchers make starts for them in 2018 and seven of them are on the current disabled list and that does not include Othani who can’t pitch.
The Diamondbacks meanwhile just got hammered in Colorado and head across country to face the surprising second-place Atlanta Braves. Good luck with that.
The Dodgers should end the first half still in first place, and given all that has happened, it was a remarkable journey to get there.
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