Don’t look now, but the once far off, no hope in catching them, Los Angeles Dodgers are within striking range of the Washington Nationals.
On August 25, the Nationals were an astounding 14.5 games behind the Dodgers for the No. 1 seed and home-field advantage for the National League playoffs. Today, September 12, the Nationals are merely 3.5 games behind.
Losers of 11 straight and 16 of their last 17 games, the Dodgers have completely fallen apart. In those 17 games, they have been outscored 99-43. Los Angeles’ starting pitching, which was supposed to take them straight to a World Series title cannot put together a good string of innings.
The newly acquired Yu Darvish has struggled with 13 earned runs in his last three starts, equating to a 9.48 ERA during the losing stretch. The supporting cast has not been much better and the offense is nearly non-existent.
The only saving grace for the Dodgers is Clayton Kershaw who just got back from the disabled list on September 1. He only has started two games since being back, winning one, and holding a 3.72 ERA with 14 strikeouts across those two starts.
During that same stretch of 17 games, the Nationals are 12-5. Since August 25, the team has gotten healthier, activating Trea Turner, Jayson Werth, and Max Scherzer back into the line-up. Earlier this week, Washington solidified their slot in the playoffs by claiming the East Division title for the fourth time in six years.
For the first time since mid-July, the starting rotation of Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg, Gio Gonzalez, and Tanner Roark is fully intact.
All a great sign for the Nationals especially while the squad is waiting for the face of their franchise, Bryce Harper, to heal his left knee on the disabled list.
This weekend the Dodgers visit Nationals Park for a three-game series that will be a huge factor in the push for the post-season. Not only are the Nationals now threatening for the top seed in the National League, the Dodgers have yet to lock up a playoff spot. Although the Arizona Diamondbacks are nine games back, but are the second hottest team in the majors going 13-3 since the Dodgers started stumbling.
If the Nationals get past Los Angeles, it might not only be for seeding in the playoffs. It may lead way to a battle for the top record in the MLB and guaranteed home-filed throughout the World Series.