SPORTS DIGEST: Dodgers are hitting on all cylinders leaving all-star break

July 13, 2017

Hopefully, the all-star break will provide the Los Angeles Dodgers with time to take a deep breath, relax for a few days and then go back to mauling their opponents.

The Dodgers went into the break with the best record in baseball, 61-29, a winning percentage of .678. The Dodgers are doing so well at the break that if they simply played .500 ball the rest of the way, splitting all 72 games, they would still end up with 97 wins.

Although the fans who won’t be satisfied until there is a parade from City Hall to Dodger Stadium in November can find holes on the roster, the teams that go up against the Dodgers have a tough time finding flaws with the team.

Pitching wise, the Dodgers lead the major leagues in earned run average and lowest opponents batting average. Their pitchers have the second most strikeouts and the second fewest walks.

Offensively, the Dodgers have scored the fourth most runs and hit the seventh most home runs. The on-base percentage is the fourth best in the major leagues and so is their on-base percentage plus slugging percentage.

The team fielding percentage is right at the major league average of .984, and only 11 teams have a higher fielding percentage. The Kansas City Royals fielding percentage leads the major leagues at .989, only .005 higher than the Dodgers.

Team President Andrew Friedman and his front office staff have done a tremendous job in building a deep 40-man roster and manager Dave Roberts does a great job of juggling those 40 players into a 25-man roster that can beat you from the left or right side of the plate or the left or right side of the pitching mound.

The players themselves have come together as a unit, allowing for a different player to knock in the decisive run almost every night.

Six players already are in double figures for home runs, with two more knocking on the door. Ten players already have more than 20 runs batted in.

Justin Turner would be leading the league in hitting if he had 50 more at bats. Last year’s rookie of the year Corey Seager and this year’s probable rookie of the year Cody Bellinger are the other two key figures in the batting order, but Yasiel Puig, Chris Taylor and Yasmani Grandal also provide pop up and down the batting order.

On the mound, Clayton Kershaw is still the best pitcher on the planet. He is 14-2 on the season, although he has been bitten by the home run bug this year. He already has allowed 18 home runs this season, a career high.

Alex Wood has been a tremendous surprise this year, winning 10 games without a loss and earning a spot on the All Star roster this week.

The Dodgers have done a juggling act with the rest of the starting rotation with Kenta Maeda winning seven games, Brandon McCarthy six games and Rich Hill five.

In the bullpen, Pedro Baez has given up only six runs in 38 appearances and closer Kenley Jansen has given up four in 36 appearances.

If the Dodgers can stay healthy, they should coast to their fifth consecutive National League West title. That 28-year World Series drought looks like it could be over finally.


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