Duarte: Dodgers Taking Advantage Of NL West Lead

No one in the NL West is catching the Dodgers, who are experimenting and fine-tuning over the final months of the season

After Hours With Amy Lawrence
August 12, 2019 - 9:40 am
Los Angeles Dodgers

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The Los Angeles Dodgers have been a force this season. They have the best record in baseball (79-41), the biggest run differential in baseball (+192), and the biggest divisional lead in baseball (19 games).

But with so little adversity all season, will they be ready for the pressure of playoff baseball?

“That’s a great point to make,” NBC Sports LA’s Michael Duarte said on After Hours with Amy Lawrence. “If you look back at the last two years, the Dodgers had the best record in baseball in 2017 – (104) wins. They ran into a little adversity and I think they lost 16 of 17 in the final month of the season, but obviously they were able to rebound and get back to the World Series, where they lost to the Astros. Last year, the Dodgers struggled out of the gate – were 10 games below in the NL West in May – and had to take it to Game 163 just to win the division again and get in the postseason.”

The Dodgers reached the World Series that year, too.

“So they can do it both ways,” Duarte said. “The motivation for this team comes from the top with Dave Roberts: keeping them focused on each and every day, winning the day, improving on what you can improve on. When you have a large lead like the Dodgers have, you’re able to tweak and fine-tune and see what relief pitchers you want to play here and who’s going to cut it in the postseason. They experimented with Joc Pederson at first base for a little while; they’ve now given up on that. They’ve moved Cody Bellinger back and forth. So they’re able to do these little tiny tweaks and been able to figure (things) out.”

While the Dodgers have been dominant, the Yankees (77-41) and Astros (77-41) aren’t far behind. They lead the Rays and A’s by 8.5 and 10 games, respectively, in the AL East and AL West.

“They are really starting to pull away from everybody,” Duarte said of baseball’s top three teams. “They all seem to be on a collision course at some point.”