Yes, we already know that the Los Angeles Angels are running away with the American League West Division, currently up a monsterous 15 games over the second-place Texas Rangers. But, the weakest Division in the National League West is still up for grabs with a little over a month to play in the regular season.
The Los Angeles Dodgers, led by trade deadline acquisition Manny Ramirez, are in a deadlock with the 2007 Division champion Arizona Diamondbacks. Both teams hold a 61-59 record. It’s quite clear that, unless the Colorado Rockies (54-68) get their act together quickly, the Division winner will be between the Dodgers, and Diamondbacks.
Los Angeles has gained the momentum, winning three straight and six of their last ten games, while Arizona has dropped six of their last ten. Manny has helped to lift the Dodgers with his 5 home runs, 16 runs batted in, and .467 batting average in 12 games since joining the team at the very end of July. Manny gave Los Angeles a power surge, and his five homers is just 8 shy of tying the team leader Matt Kemp.
The Dodgers will finish off a four-game series with the Philadelphia Phillies tonight, attempting to complete the sweep. Then LA, who is 35-27 at home this year, will stay home to host two three-game series against the sizzling Milwaukee Brewers, who have won their last 8 games, and then the Division-rival Colorado Rockies will head to town. If Los Angeles can take two of three from the Brewers, they will be in great shape heading into their series with the Rockies.
Manny has single-handedly turned the Dodgers around. The team may just be 7-5 in the month of August, but Manny’s power has boosted the team’s morale. His fun, and “chill” attitude seems to have relaxed the clubhouse, therefore allowing the team’s confidence to sky-rocket. For the first three games with Manny, LA’s attendance jumped from 42,000 to 55,000 in just one day, and for the first three games was above the 52,000 mark. So, not only did this acquisition boost the team’s confidence, but the fans’ confidence as well. The schedule looks promising for the Dodgers, and they will get two more shots at the Diamondbacks before the end of the season.
If LA’s starting pitching gives six or seven solid innings, I think this team has a shot at going over .500 the rest of the way. This is a do-or-die situation for the Los Angeles. If they don’t win the Division, there’s no way they’ll make the playoffs. And, to answer the original question I asked before, yes, the Dodgers will be NL West Division champs in the end…Count on it.