The Los Angeles Dodgers were the favorites to win another National League pennant when the season began and they remain +150 favorites despite not even leading their own NL West Division. The San Francisco Giants are in first there and are +500 to win the pennant.
Analysis National League | Can Anyone Beat LA Dodgers?
Los Angeles put on quite the offensive show on Saturday night in trashing the Arizona Diamondbacks 22-1. The runs tied a franchise record (also July 21, 2001 at COL) and were the most ever scored by a Dodger team at Dodger Stadium. The Dodgers also hit eight home runs, which tied a franchise record for the third time (also May 23, 2002 at MIL and March 28, 2019 at ARI). The 21 hits were a season high and the team’s most since ripping 21 in a 17-1 rout of the Pirates on July 2, 2018. Los Angeles became the first team in big league history to have two games in one season in which they hit multiple grand slams (also May 2 at MIL).
The Dodgers rotation has been great all season but is a bit thin right now. Clayton Kershaw hit the injured list recently with elbow inflammation – MRIs were negative for structural damage. Kershaw hasn’t pitched since July 4, when he allowed three runs in four innings against Washington. The three-time Cy Young Award winner is 9-7 with a 3.39 ERA in 18 starts this season.
Trevor Bauer remains on administrative leave while the MLB continues its investigation into sexual assault allegations. After being accused of assaulting a woman at his home in April and May, Bauer is facing investigations by police and Major League Baseball, which could lead to criminal charges and a lengthy suspension.
Bauer’s attorney in California is Shawn Holley, a member of the legal lineup that worked with famed lawyer Johnnie Cochran to defend OJ Simpson, the former football star, during the so-called “Trial of the Century” in Los Angeles years ago.
The Giants have the best record in the majors at 57-32. It’s the seventh time in franchise history they have the best mark at the All-Star break and first since 2016.
The Giants have hit 132 homers, most in the Majors ahead of Toronto (130). It’s only the third time that the Giants lead in HRs at the break since moving to San Francisco in 1958. The other times were in 1989 (80 home runs) and 1958 (95).
The Giants defense has recorded 28 outs above average this year, the second-highest total in the Majors just behind Tampa Bay (29). In terms of defensive runs saved, SF has the fourth-most according to Fangraphs (37) behind Tampa Bay (59), Colorado (47) and Houston (39).
The NL West could easily have both wild-card teams because the San Diego Padres (+350) are also legit pennant contenders. The Padres’ 53 wins before the break are the 2nd most in club history, behind just their 57 in 1998. San Diego’s pitching staff’s .225 opponent average this year is the best mark in any season in Padres’ history before the All-Star Game, ahead of their .237 clip in 2014.
San Diego’s rotation also is a bit thin right now with Yu Darvish, Blake Snell and Ryan Weathers on the injured list. The Padres acquired Darvish and Snell in separate blockbuster trades during the offseason. Darvish is 7-3 with a 3.09 ERA and 125 strikeouts this season, while Snell is 3-3 with a 4.99 ERA and 93 strikeouts. Weathers injured his foot in Sunday’s game. The Padres were encouraged by the results of the MRI that Weathers underwent on his right foot, but the team expects him to be sidelined until at least the early part of August.
“We’ve had a lot of guys all year step up for us, so I think we’re expecting more guys from the organization and the system,” general manager A.J. Preller said. “All teams have injuries this year. … The first look for us is going to be internal. Obviously, (it’s) trade deadline time. We’re going to keep talking to clubs.”
There has been talk that the Padres may trade for Texas Rangers All-Star slugger Joey Gallo. The offense has been inconsistent, especially at first base, where Eric Hosmer has struggled in 2021. Gallo, on the other hand, has 24 home runs, including 11 in his last 12 games.NL pennant expert pickPadres
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