Yasiel Puig #66 of the Los Angeles Dodgers celebrates after defeating the Pirates in extra inning on June 15, 2013 at PNC Park in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The Dodgers defeated the Pirates 5-3.
After losing two of three to Pittsburgh, and six of their last eight games, the Dodgers fell to 10 games under .500, which would bury them in the standings in almost any other division in baseball. But, the Dodgers play in the NL West where the division leading Arizona Diamondbacks are just five games over .500.
At 29-39, the Dodgers would be 14.5 back in the NL Central or 11.5 back in the NL East, which makes 7.5 back in the West seem like a reasonable task.
Besides the Dodgers, every team in the NL West is over .500, but only barely. It is a tight race with all four teams just two games apart, but if you put all of them in the NL Central none would even place third with the Cardinals, Reds, and Pirates all with 40-plus wins.
So while the Dodgers are burying themselves further and further into the loss column, they have not moved in the NL West standings. All it takes is a nice winning streak and they could find themselves right in the mix with the rest of the West.
The question of course being, how are these Dodgers going to put together a winning streak? They have not even won three in a row since April!
Just take a look at the Padres, who are in the middle of a six-game winning streak, and just swept the Diamondbacks to move within two games of the division lead. They are only one game over .500 and were six games back on June 8.
Dodger fans are losing their minds in last place, but imagine being a San Diego fan. The Padres are over .500 for the first time since April 7, 2011. Of course, the Padres do not have a $200 million payroll and sky-high expectations.
As hard as it is to put aside the negativity and frustrations of a 29-39 season, the Dodgers are still an explosive team with potential to unleash a big winning streak at any time.
Yes, the Dodgers have lost two of three and six of their last eight. Finishing at .500 for the All-Star Break seems impossible, but if the Dodgers can put together wins against some of the most average teams in the league in the next month they can gain some major ground in the NL West.
Those average teams happen to all be division rivals. Of the next 26 games, 20 are against the Padres, Giants, Rockies and Diamondbacks.
While the Dodgers are just about even against the rest of the league, they are a miserable 9-21 against division rivals. Time for the Dodgers to step up, and prove that they are the best team in the MLB’s most average division.