Surging Dodgers eyeing first place in NL West

Christian Petersen

Don't look now, but Yasiel Puig and the Dodgers are making a serious run at the NL West crown.

The Los Angeles Dodgers are back to .500, at 45-45, for the first time since April 30 after completing a three-game sweep of the Arizona Diamondbacks on Wednesday.

The Bums have a shot at a winning record for the first time since April 15 this week against the Colorado Rockies, who have lost 18 of their past 27 games but are still very much in the thick of the NL West. While Colorado and the rest of the teams in the division have struggled, the Dodgers are 15-3 since falling a season-high 12 games under .500 on June 21. If it can earn a sweep over the Rockies, Los Angeles has a strong chance of entering the All-Star break atop the NL West standings. Three out of four over Colorado would probably put the Dodgers there, as well.

Hanley Ramirez, who hit the go-ahead home run in the top of the 14th inning off of D-Backs reliever Josh Collmenter in the Dodgers' series finale at Arizona, is hitting .409/.452/.739 in 126 plate appearances this season and is looking like every bit of his former self. Still, Ramirez is being overshadowed in every way by rookie teammate Yasiel Puig, who boasts a line of .394/.428/.634 and might very well end up on the NL All-Star squad.

For more on Puig and the surging Dodgers, we bring in Ben Haber of SB Nation's Dodgers community True Blue LA. For an optimal reading experience, I'd recommend listening to PUIG DESTROYER's hit single, "1 Man, 5 Tools" on a constant loop while viewing the remainder of this article.

*****

Bryan Kilpatrick: So, Yasiel Puig ... (chuckles) ... if that guy isn't the talk of the town, huh? How do you feel about all of these All-Star Game shenanigans?

Ben Haber: There are lots of stars out here in LA, so the Puig story has kind of been overlooked. I just noticed he was hitting over .400, which seems to be pretty good, but if I did my job well only 40 percent of the time, I’d get fired. Instead, Puig gets praised!? Not fair at all.

About the All-Star Game? Puig should go. Fans want to see the most exciting and best players, and Puig fits the bill.


Yasiel Puig

#66 / Right Field / Los Angeles Dodgers

6-3

215

R

R

Dec 07, 1990


HR Chicks bagged ASG appearances
2013 - Yasiel Puig 106, probably At least 4,280 0*

* -- Not for long!


BK: Do you think Puig should be allowed to play in the NBA All-Star Game?

BH: Puig continuously draws comparisons to Bo Jackson, so maybe the NFL Pro Bowl would work better. At 6’3, 245 pounds, he could be a nasty linebacker, and he is already pretty tough. Puig stayed in the game despite getting nailed in the face. I doubt Ray Lewis could even do that.

Regarding the NBA All-Star game, I seriously doubt it. Puig would lead the NBA in turnovers and charges because of his over-aggressive mentality.

BK: What do you think Puig is doing RIGHT NOW? Our readers HAVE to know.

BH: Right now, as I answer this question, it’s 9:29 a.m. on Wednesday. I don’t need to guess what Puig is doing; I know what Puig is doing. Puig is currently working out and benching upwards of 400-plus pounds, and he won't be sore tomorrow. While doing so, he is learning that balls five feet outside of the strike zone shouldn’t be swung at.

BK: Luis Cruz is hitting .240 for the Yankees, nearly doubling his batting average from while he was in LA ... (chuckles again) ... I bet the Dodgers community is really up in arms about the team letting him go, huh?

BH: To be honest, most Dodgers fans aren’t aware Luis Cruz got released. So, Bryan, I think you are the bearer of bad news. Cruz rarely played for the Dodgers over the last couple weeks, therefore it’s hard to notice his departure. Although, some people realize Cruz is raking for the Yankees at .240, and are demanding general manager Ned Colletti is fired for the decision.

BK: Okay okay, let's get serious here ... What do the Dodgers need to do to win the NL West? Do they just hold steady and let the rest of the teams in the division continue to vomit all over themselves, or does LA need to make another move?

BH: Believe it or not, the Dodgers are sitting pretty right now. Don Mattingly’s club probably has the best hitting and starting pitching in the NL West. However, defense and bullpen issues could be their Achilles heel.

To win the division, the boys in blue need to cut down on the errors and avoid the injury bug. Almost every key contributor for the Dodgers has been injured, excluding Clayton Kershaw. The recent winning trend comes in direct correlation to the team’s least amount of impactful DL stints.

The Dodgers will look to upgrade their bullpen at the trade deadline. Besides Kenley Jansen and Paco Rodriguez, there are no other consistent pieces out of the pen. In addition, Colletti could be on the hunt for a new second baseman. Conversely, the core has already been assembled and no more major moves will be made. Acquiring Ricky Nolasco was the Dodgers' biggest splash, solidifying the back-end of the rotation.

Regardless of the Dodgers' roster plans, their current talent should be enough to earn the NL West crown.

*****

Probable pitchers

Game 1: Thursday, July 11 at 8:10 p.m. MT (ROOT Sports)

Drew Pomeranz (0-2, 9.72 ERA) vs. Chris Capuano (2-6, 5.19 ERA)

Game 2: Friday, July 12 at 8:10 p.m. MT (ROOT Sports) **NO-HITTER ALERT**

Juan Nicasio (4-4, 5.31) vs. Clayton Kershaw (8-5, 1.89)

Game 3: Saturday, July 13 at 5:10 p.m. MT (FOX)

Tyler Chatwood (5-2, 2.74) vs. Zack Greinke (7-2, 3.91)

Game 4: Sunday, July 14 at 2:10 p.m. MT (ROOT Sports)

Jhoulys Chacin (8-4, 3.62) vs. Ricky Nolasco (6-8, 3.70)

*****


Batting

G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB K SB CS AVG OBP SLG
Ricky Nolasco 1 2 1 2 1 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 1.000 1.000 1.500
Hanley Ramirez 35 115 26 47 10 2 8 24 9 14 4 0 .409 .452 .739
Yasiel Puig 35 142 27 56 8 1 8 19 7 35 5 3 .394 .428 .634
Zack Greinke 14 27 3 10 1 0 0 2 4 3 0 0 .370 .469 .407
Adrian Gonzalez 87 323 37 97 19 0 14 58 29 48 0 0 .300 .353 .489
Elian Herrera 3 7 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 .286 .286 .286
Andre Ethier 87 304 28 83 18 1 5 27 34 50 3 3 .273 .351 .388
Juan Uribe 67 180 23 49 10 1 5 28 20 39 1 0 .272 .342 .422
A.J. Ellis 61 210 22 57 12 1 4 27 30 50 0 0 .271 .361 .395
Carl Crawford 57 207 35 56 12 2 5 13 16 34 9 3 .271 .330 .420
Jerry Hairston 50 111 8 29 6 0 1 11 8 8 0 0 .261 .311 .342
Nick Punto 71 192 22 49 8 0 1 12 20 41 3 1 .255 .324 .313
Matt Kemp 61 224 29 57 11 0 4 24 17 69 9 0 .254 .309 .357
Skip Schumaker 72 181 18 46 8 0 0 16 18 28 2 1 .254 .325 .298
Mark Ellis 63 222 23 56 4 1 4 22 11 37 3 0 .252 .298 .333
Scott Van Slyke 28 74 10 18 6 0 6 14 8 21 0 0 .243 .313 .568
Hyun-Jin Ryu 18 36 2 8 2 1 0 4 1 17 0 0 .222 .243 .333
Alex Castellanos 4 9 1 2 1 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 .222 .222 .333
Ramon Hernandez 17 48 4 10 2 0 3 6 6 7 1 0 .208 .291 .438
Tim Federowicz 30 81 5 16 4 0 3 12 4 24 0 0 .198 .235 .358
Justin Sellers 27 69 6 13 1 0 1 2 5 20 0 0 .188 .263 .246
Dee Gordon 19 63 6 11 0 1 1 5 8 16 5 2 .175 .278 .254
Clayton Kershaw 21 42 4 7 2 0 1 3 4 9 0 0 .167 .255 .286
Luis Cruz 45 118 12 15 2 0 1 6 5 20 0 0 .127 .175 .169
Josh Beckett 8 8 0 1 0 0 0 0 1 3 0 0 .125 .222 .125
Stephen Fife 8 12 0 1 0 0 0 0 1 7 0 0 .083 .154 .083
Chris Capuano 12 10 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 .000 .000 .000
Matt Magill 6 7 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 5 0 0 .000 .000 .000
Ted Lilly 5 5 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 5 0 0 .000 .000 .000
Chad Billingsley 2 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 0 0 .000 .000 .000
J.P. Howell 37 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 .000 .000 .000
Matt Guerrier 34 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 .000 .000 .000
Kenley Jansen 44 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000
Ronald Belisario 44 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000
Jose Dominguez 5 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 .000 .000 .000
Brandon League 33 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000
Javy Guerra 9 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000
Chris Withrow 6 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000
Paco Rodriguez 44 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000
Peter Moylan 10 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000
Josh Wall 6 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000
Shawn Tolleson 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000

Pitching

W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
Skip Schumaker 0-0 72 0 0 0 0 0 2.0 3 0 0 0 3 1 0.00 3.00
Shawn Tolleson 0-0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0.0 0 0 0 0 2 0 0.00 .00
Ricky Nolasco 1-0 1 1 0 0 0 0 7.0 4 1 1 0 0 5 1.29 .57
Clayton Kershaw 8-5 21 19 3 2 0 0 138.1 91 33 29 7 34 129 1.89 .90
J.P. Howell 2-0 37 0 0 0 0 0 38.1 28 10 10 1 13 35 2.35 1.07
Kenley Jansen 3-3 44 0 0 0 9 3 45.1 36 12 12 5 8 63 2.38 .97
Paco Rodriguez 2-2 44 0 0 0 1 2 32.2 15 9 9 1 11 37 2.48 .80
Stephen Fife 3-3 8 8 0 0 0 0 45.2 46 18 14 5 12 35 2.76 1.27
Chad Billingsley 1-0 2 2 0 0 0 0 12.0 12 4 4 1 5 6 3.00 1.42
Hyun-Jin Ryu 7-3 18 18 1 1 0 0 116.2 107 42 40 10 39 93 3.09 1.25
Jose Dominguez 0-0 5 0 0 0 0 0 4.2 7 3 2 0 1 2 3.86 1.71
Ronald Belisario 3-5 44 0 0 0 1 4 39.1 47 20 17 3 14 33 3.89 1.55
Zack Greinke 7-2 14 13 0 0 0 0 76.0 78 35 33 7 26 59 3.91 1.37
Chris Withrow 0-0 6 0 0 0 0 1 9.0 8 4 4 1 5 11 4.00 1.44
Matt Guerrier 2-3 34 0 0 0 0 1 30.0 32 18 16 3 12 21 4.80 1.47
Ted Lilly 0-2 5 5 0 0 0 0 23.0 27 16 13 4 10 18 5.09 1.61
Josh Beckett 0-5 8 8 1 0 0 0 43.1 50 30 25 8 15 41 5.19 1.50
Chris Capuano 2-6 12 10 0 0 0 1 52.0 61 35 30 7 15 40 5.19 1.46
Brandon League 3-3 33 0 0 0 14 4 30.2 40 25 21 4 9 14 6.16 1.60
Peter Moylan 1-0 10 0 0 0 0 0 11.1 16 8 8 3 6 5 6.35 1.94
Matt Magill 0-2 6 6 0 0 0 0 27.2 27 25 20 6 28 26 6.51 1.99
Javy Guerra 0-0 9 0 0 0 0 0 10.2 15 9 8 1 6 12 6.75 1.97
Josh Wall 0-1 6 0 0 0 0 0 7.0 17 14 14 2 6 7 18.00 3.29


Los Angeles Dodgers Injuries

15-Day

Player Injury Type Injury Date
Shawn Tolleson back 04/13/2013
Ted Lilly neck 06/05/2013
Matt Kemp shoulder 07/06/2013
Stephen Fife shoulder 07/07/2013
Josh Beckett groin 05/14/2013

60 Day DL / Out for the season

Player Injury Type Injury Date
Scott Elbert elbow 03/22/2013
Chad Billingsley elbow 04/16/2013

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