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Dodgers Win 4th Straight Behind Greinke Gem


Even against one of the American League’s best teams, the Los Angeles Dodgers haven’t slowed down and after picking up another game in the National League West, they are threatening to pull away in the divisional race.

On Saturday, the Dodgers defeated the Tampa Bay Rays by a score of 5-0 behind another brilliant performance by Zack Greinke, who shut out one of the AL’s best hitting teams through six and a third innings, striking out seven along the way. After seeing the Arizona Diamondbacks fall at home against the Mets, the Dodgers increased their West lead to 6.5 games.

“Obviously it feels pretty good, the way we’re playing,” Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said, according to ESPN.com. “Our starting pitching gives us a chance to win every day.”

The Dodgers have now won their last four games and are easily the hottest team since the All-Star break with a 19-3 record. Their impressive turnaround has made them one of the favorites to win the NL pennant, which is remarkable considering the dire position they were in just a couple of months ago as the last-place team in the West.

Meanwhile, the Rays – who were just as hot not long ago – have slipped up recently as losers of their last four. They now find themselves three games back of the Red Sox in the AL East, but are still sitting pretty as the co-leaders in the AL wild card race.

Still, they’d like to avoid their first five-game skid since 2011 and avoid a potential sweep as the two teams face off again in game three of their series today. Jeremy Hellickson (10-5, 4.77 ERA) has struggled lately, but in getting the ball for Tampa today, will hope to change his and the team’s fortunes.

“The mindset’s always to get ahead and attack and be aggressive. I really haven’t shown that mindset the last few games,” Hellickson told the team’s official website. “I do have to get back to that and being more aggressive. … I just wasn’t very good the last two games. That’s basically what it comes down to.”

The Dodgers – who have shut out the Rays over the past 13 innings – will have a great chance to earn yet another win as they’ll send out the league leader in ERA, Clayton Kershaw (10-7, 1.91 ERA). Kershaw has been dominant all season long and has allowed just three earned runs in his last 22 innings of work.

While Hellickson has benefited from strong run support all season, it’s doubtful that the Rays can get many runs across against Kershaw, especially considering the mini-slump their offense is in. Look for the Dodgers to keep things rolling and pick up another win and the sweep by covering -1.5 runs today.

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