As the Dodgers wrap up their two-day celebration of Clayton Kershaw's historic no-hitter on Wednesday, they find themselves down a mere four games to the Giants in the NL West. While the boys in blue have taken 8 of 11, the Giants have gone the opposite way, dropping five straight, and 8 of 9.
Simply put, now is the time to take care of business this weekend, and put more pressure on the Giants. It all starts with taking apart the 31-42 Padres the next three games.
I don't care that both Kershaw and Zack Greinke aren't on the mound all weekend. The Dodgers still have the clear pitching advantage in all three games with Dan Haren, Josh Beckett, and Hyun-Jin Ryu. I don't think the names Ian Kennedy, Tyson Ross, and Eric Stults should be enough to sway the advantage San Diego's way.
After being the ultimate one-win, one-loss team for the first two-and-a-half months of the season, the Dodgers finally have plenty of reasons to be excited about their recent play. Kershaw and Beckett have thrown no-hitters. Yasiel Puig is lined up to start the All-Star Game. Dee Gordon leads baseball with 37 steals. Matt Kemp is hitting .350 in June.
And through it all, the Dodgers have 22 wins on the road, better than all but the A's and Brewers.
Basically, the Dodgers seem to prefer their time away from home (except for Kershaw, who must like that Dodger Stadium mound). I've said all season how they appear to play looser, and, quite frankly, better on the road. Now that some of their guys are starting to figure things out, I wouldn't expect that to change at all against the lowly Pads.
Nobody will ever forget the Dodgers' history making run of 2013 in which they won 42 of 50 games. That's not going to happen again, but they can still have a successful summer run and get back on top of the NL West. It started last year around this time, and one year later, it's time to make their move again.
Plowing through a bad team like the Padres is a necessary step to get to where they want to be come October. Get it done, boys. First place is awaiting.