Perhaps one of the biggest stories in baseball this year has been the success of the San Diego Padres. Thanks to their pitching staff, the Padres have managed to remain atop the NL West for much of the season. As a result, the defending division champion, Los Angeles Dodgers, have been playing catch-up during the first-half of the season.
The Dodgers, who are just 2.0 games back of the Padres, struggled earlier this season with their pitching staff. Talented youngsters, Chad Billingsley (7-4, 4.14 ERA) and Clayton Kershaw (9-4, 2.96) struggled early on, but are now showing signs of progress. Kershaw, who at just 22 years of age, is starting to show signs that he’s ace. The Dodgers, who lost Derek Lowe a few seasons back, have been without a true ace in their rotation. Both Billingsley and Kershaw are young and talented. The Dodgers’ success in the second-half with be contingent upon the success of their pitching staff.
While it won’t be easy, the Dodgers’ offense should be able to carry them through the second-half. The Dodgers have such a good offense, that their pitching can afford to make a few mistakes here and there. Players like Andre Either, Matt Kemp and James Loney are crucial elements to an offense that ranks third in runs scored with 413. If Either and Kemp can continue their strong offensive production up, the Dodgers should have no problem closing the gap between themselves and the surprise Padres.
The second-half figures to be an interesting one, as the Dodgers will try to beat out teams like San Diego, Colorado and San Francisco in order to repeat as the NL West champs. Pitching will be key for LA, but if the offense continues to hit well, the team should be O.K.
Tags: Andre Either Chad Billingsley Clayton Kershaw Derek Lowe Dodgers Hitting Dodgers Lineup Dodgers Pitchers Dodgers Pitching Staff Dodgers Starting Rotation James Loney LA Dodgers LA Dodgers Lineup LA Dodgers Rotation Los Angeles Dodgers Matt Kemp Russell Martin