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N. L. West Update: Dodgers Take Over the Lead

The Los Angeles Dodgers have completed their steady climb from last place to first in the National League West. Now they have to stay there. The Dodgers have been the National League version of the Tampa Bay Rays, getting hot at right around the same time and staying that way, even though the All-Star Break could have interrupted the surge. Like Tampa Bay, the Dodgers started the post All-Star Break on the road. Also like the Rays, the road did not slow them down at all. The Dodgers swept the Washington Nationals and then the Toronto Blue Jays before going home to face the Cincinnati Reds for four games and the New York Yankees for two. The Dodgers are 15-5 in the month of July  with five to play. The Rays are 17-3 in the month of July with three games at the Yankees, one at the Boston Red Sox and two at home with the Dodgers closest competition in the West, the Arizona Diamondbacks. They lead the D-Backs by a half game in the division after Thursday’s games.

The Dodgers and Rays look to be on a collision course for the World Series. If these two stay this hot, that would be a great World Series. The Detroit Tigers, St. Louis Cardinals, the Red Sox and others will still have a say in this, but right now these two look to be the best teams in their leagues. Both have been doing it with outstanding starting pitching and timely hitting. The Dodgers have been much better since the return of Zach Grienke who was an 8-2 record in his 15 starts going into Thursday’s game with the Reds. The Reds stopped the Dodgers six game win streak with a 5-2 win while Arizona beat the Chicago Cubs 3-1. Grienke took the loss to fall to 8-3 while Mat Latos of the Reds improved to 10-3. Clayton Kershaw will oppose Homer Bailey in tonight’s game.

Whether the Rays and Dodgers will meet in the World Series remains to be seen, but one thing is for sure, the two will meet on August 9-11 in Dodger Stadium. Hopefully both teams will remain hot until then and both will still be in first place in their divisions.

The Colorado Rockies remain five games out of the division lead after failing to take advantage of the Dodgers loss on Thursday. The Miami Marlins knocked them off at Coors Field 5-3. It was a wild affair at the end with the Marlins scoring the game’s first run on a wild pitch in the eighth inning that scored Rob Brantly from third. The Marlins then scored four in the ninth on a run-scoring double by Giancarlo Stanton and a two run homer by Donovan Solano. But the Rockies stormed back in the bottom of the ninth with three runs when Michael Cuddyer doubled home a run then later scored on a single by Wil Rosario. Rosario then scored on a single and a Stanton throwing error. But Steve Cishek stopped the rally from there with his 20th save.

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