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L.A. is hot heading into second half of season

Dodgersnation.com
Clayton Kershaw is one of the best pitchers in the Majors and is one reason the L.A. Dodgers currently have the best record.
Fertile Ground Compost Service

OKLAHOMA CITY – The Los Angeles Dodgers, parent club of the OKC Dodgers, are the hottest team in Major League Baseball with a 61-29 record heading into the second half of the season, which begins today.

L.A. has won 26 of 30 games including six straight victories in the last month of baseball. If the boys in blue keep up the pace, they could reach 109 wins this year. Seattle holds the record with 116 wins in a season (2001), which would mean the Dodgers have to go 55-16 to break that mark. The Mariners didn’t even make the World Series that year.

As a matter of fact, the odds are against the team with the best record at the All-Star break to win a World Series. Since the All-Star game’s inception in 1933, the team with the best record heading into the Midsummer Classic has reached the World Series 82 of 87 times but has only won the pennant 27 times. That’s 2 to 1 odds against winning the World Series.

It has been a decade since the team with the best record at the break had won the Fall Classic when Boston defeated the Colorado Rockies in 2007.

L.A. is currently 7.5 games ahead of Arizona in the National League West, and eight games in front of Washington, the team with the second-best record in the NL.

The Dodgers ace left-hander Clayton Kershaw is the best pitcher in the majors, and one reason for L.A.’s success. The seven-time All-Star and three-time Cy Young Award recipient and currently 14-2 with a 2.18 ERA. The Dallas native has struck out 159 batters in 132.2 innings and owns a 0.88 WHIP. Kershaw has won his last seven starts with a 2.02 ERA and 67 total strikeouts. The 29-year-old sensation has recorded double-digit strikeouts four times in his past five starts. Kershaw threw 13 strikeouts against Kansas City last Sunday to become the first pitcher in MLB history to record 13 Ks in less than 100 pitches

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Kershaw joins legends Sandy Koufax, Pedro Martinez and Randy Johnson as the only pitchers in history to post at least 14 victories, an ERA below 2.50 and a strikeout-per-nine ratio of at least 10 before the All-State break.

The Dodgers’ entire pitching staff has the lowest ERA in the Majors (3.15) and a rookie with a hot bat—left fielder Cody Bellinger, who’s hit .261 with 25 homers and 58 RBI this year. Bellinger was named to this year’s All-Star Game.

This Dodger team is a gritty bunch with 23 come-from-behind victories this year. That determination comes from the leadership of second-year manager Dave Roberts.

“Management has solved the riddle of brittle players by stockpiling more talent than the competition, especially pitchers,” wrote Ken Gurnick, a Dodgers beat writer for MLB.com. “Together with Roberts, they have filled the clubhouse with unselfish talent willing to do what’s asked. Roberts’ energy and optimism have rubbed off on a team that doesn’t quit.”

The Houston Astros have the best record in the American League at 60-29, just a half game behind the Dodgers, but the AL will have home field advantage in this year’s Series thanks to a 2-1 victory in last Tuesday’s Midsummer Classic.

The Astros are so good they are 16.5 games in front of the Angels and Rangers in the AL West, and 10 games ahead of Boston, the team with the second-best record in the AL.

So, if the playoffs were to begin today, the New York Yankees and Tampa Bay Rays would be the Wild Card representatives in the AL. The winner of that one game would meet Houston in one Divisional Round while the Red Sox would meet Cleveland in the other.

The NL Wild Card round would pit the Diamondbacks and Colorado Rockies with the winner taking on the Dodgers in the Divisional Round. Washington and Milwaukee would meet in the other Divisional Round.

Mike Petriello, an MLB.com analyst, believes the Dodgers and Houston are the strongest teams but did not predict which team is better

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Ray Dozier

Ray Dozier is the author of Legends of Oklahoma Sooners Football and two editions of The...

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Red Dirt Report was launched July 4, 2007 as an independent news website covering all manner of news, culture, entertainment and lifestyle stories that affect and interest Oklahoma readers and readers outside of our state. Our mission is to educate, promote civic engagement and discourse on public policy, government and politics. Our experienced journalists provided balanced in-depth coverage of news stories that affect Oklahomans. Our opinion/editorial stories come from a wide range of political view points. We carry out our mission by reporting, writing, and posting news and information. read more

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