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Dodgers continue to extend NL West Lead

The major league baseball season rolls on into August with only 50 regular season games remaining for most teams. The National League West, once one of the closest races in baseball with at one time all four teams within five games of one another, has now spread out considerably.

As of Tuesday night, the Los Angeles Dodgers were leading the division with a record of 62-49. Los Angeles had won five straight games, 9 of their last 10 and 32 of their last 39 overall.

The Dodgers have picked up starting pitching and relief help in the form of Ricky Nolasco and Brian Wilson respectively.

With a starting rotation of Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke, Hyun-Jin Ryu it is no wonder that even though the batting order does not put out huge numbers the team contains to chalk up wins.

The Dodgers pitchers are third in the league in ERA and tenth in opposing team’s batting average.

Offensively the team’s batting average is sixth, on base percentage seventh and runs scored is 19th, so it is obvious the team is winning more games through its pitchers than its hitters.

The Arizona Diamondbacks, which at one time looked like they would run away from the field in the NL West, are now running backwards faster than forwards. The Diamondbacks have lost 10 of their past 16 games overall and are not only six games behind the Dodgers for first in the division, but 4 ½ games behind the Cincinnati Reds for the second and final wildcard spot for the NL.

Both the pitching staff and the hitters are middle of the pack in stats for the season. Paul Goldschmidt played in the All Star game for Arizona at first base but he has struggled mightily the second half of the season thus far. Nevertheless, he remains second in the league in home runs with 26 and first in RBIs with 89, but has just 4 home runs and 6 RBIs over his past 10 games.

Los Angeles is a playing a tough series with the St. Louis Cardinals, while the Diamondbacks will complete a short two-game interleague series with the Tampa Bay Rays.

The Dodgers follow their series with St. Louis hosting Tampa Bay for three games, while the Diamondback host the New York Mets starting Friday.

The Dodgers got outfielder Yaseil Puig back into the lineup on Monday after he sat of Sunday’s game with a sore thumb.

Hanley Ramirez jammed his shoulder and sat out Monday and Tuesday, but should play in Wednesday’s fourth game against St. Louis.

On Tuesday night, the Dodgers lost to the Cardinals 5-1 due to very little offensive output for their ace Kershaw, who allowed two earned runs in six innings and still holds an ERA of 1.91.

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