Dodgers Face-Off Against Padres For NL West Lead

The Dodgers have won the NL West for seven straight seasons, in that time they have won two NL Pennants but have yet to capture the World Series title that has eluded them since 1988. The first step to get over the hump and become World Champions, is to win the NL West for the eighth straight year. The key in this shortened season is to get off to a hot start, the Dodgers have done that, they are tied for 5th best record in all of baseball with a 7-3 record.

This is a huge series for the Dodgers who head into San Diego as the leaders in the NL West, the Padres are right on their heels with a somewhat surprising 6-4 start and trail the Dodgers by only won game. This short season is nearly 20% finished already and every series has a special impact on where we will end up in October, that is if baseball is able to finish these remaining 50 games.

The Dodgers are close to finding their stride and I think this could be the start of the Dodgers running and hiding with a comfortable lead, leaving the rest of the NL West in their rearview mirror. Kershaw returned yesterday and dealt 5 innings of shutout ball and struck out six Diamondbacks en route to a Dodgers victory and series win. Speaking of the Dodgers pitching staff, their bullpen has been historically good to start a season, here are the Dodgers relief pitchers for the first ten games of the season:

Scott Alexander 0.00 ERA
Caleb Ferguson 0.00 ERA
Dylan Floro 0.00 ERA
Kenley Jansen 0.00 ERA
Joe Kelly 0.00 ERA
Adam Kolarek 0.00 ERA
Jake McGee 0.00 ERA
Blake Treinen 0.00 ERA
Pedro Baez 1.59 ERA
Brusdar Graterol 2.08 ERA

I am it is outrageous that the Dodgers have three losses on the year, the biggest question mark coming into this season was the Dodgers bullpen and I have expressed these concerns. It is highly unlikely that this type of production will continue throughout the sixty game season but this is exactly the start that the Dodgers were dreaming about when they assembled this bullpen in the off-season. They are no slowly returning to the form they need with their starting pitchers, Kershaw, Buehler and Urias are all healthy and ready to roll. David Price opted out of the 2020 season, so that is a big piece that will be missing but the Dodgers have put Dustin May and Ross Stripling into the rotation and have looked great. Alex Wood should not step foot on the mound again for the Dodgers as a starter, May and Stripling are both much more capable of giving the Dodgers quality starts, Wood can be deceptive one time through the order and I think by moving him to the bullpen would give the Dodgers an additional lefty who could face the lineup one time through.

Corey Seager has started out as the best hitter in the National League from an overall production standpoint. Betts and Bellinger are now finding their form and the biggest surprise for the Dodgers has been the production of A.J. Pollock who looks to be returning to his healthy form when he was a member of Arizona.

This series will prove just how good both of these teams are. The Padres are an exciting team with Fernando Tatis Jr. and Manny Machado, they are young and exciting and the Dodgers are the old guard of this division. The Padres feel like this is their time and this series has all the feels of an October playoff series. I really hope that this season gets finished and after reports that the Cardinals COVID-19 tests were false positives, it seems like there is a better chance that the season goes on. Teams around the league have been taking extra precautions, including wearing their masks throughout the entirety of the game, bench players sitting in the stands not near any other players and players carrying hand sanitizing gel with them onto the field. It is a different world and all of this is new, but we need baseball, we need to finish this season.