It Only Gets Easier From Here

Remember two weeks ago, when everyone was worried about having to go into San Francisco and predicted impending doom for the “struggling” Dodgers? Hey, how’d that turn out? Oh, right – the Dodgers marched into the Bay Area and took 2 of 3, effectively ending the Giants’ divisions hopes.

Then there was this week, when once again – people were needlessly panicking about having to go into Denver and face the red-hot Rockies. Once again, the Dodgers storm into hostile territory and take 2 of 3.

The point is, after months of coasting, the Dodgers have been tested. They’ve gone on the road to battle two of their closest rivals – who just happen to be the two NL Wild Card leaders – and in each case they’ve won the series. They’ve faced the competition and they’ve beat them down. And the reward for that (besides October, that is)? A remaining schedule that is the second-easiest in the National League, as the .467 winning percentage of remaining Dodger foes is second only to the .460 that the hopeless Cubs get to face.

Sure, that stat is slightly flawed because of course the Dodgers can’t play themselves, and therefore never have to see the team with the best record in the league inflating their opponents’ winning percentage. Still, the remaining schedule is littered with series against the Reds (the last time we saw them, they were getting swept and allowing the Bobbleslam), Diamondbacks (two), Pirates (two), Padres (two), and Nationals.

The Rockies are still only four behind, so you can’t completely cruise to the finish line, but teams like that offer fantastic opportunities to get Clayton Kershaw a breather and insert Eric Stults or Charlie Haeger in his place for a start or three.

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Also, rosters expand on Tuesday. As there’s few things I enjoy more than guessing about roster moves, here’s a rough crack at who’s coming up for September 1. This is who I’m guessing at, not neccessarily what I’d do:

87toppsajellis.jpgC A.J. Ellis
IF Blake DeWitt
IF Tony Abreu
IF Chin-Lung Hu
PH Doug Mientkiewicz (he can hit, but I don’t think he’s ready to field)
OF Jamie Hoffmann
OF Jason Repko
SP Hiroki Kuroda
SP Eric Stults
RP Cory Wade
RP Brent Leach
RP Scott Elbert
RP Will Ohman

Just missed: IF Hector Luna, IF/OF Mitch Jones, and RP Hyang-Nam Choi. They’re doing great in AAA, but they’re not on the 40-man and it’s going to be hard enough to get Ohman and Mientkiewicz spots back on the roster, which it sounds like they’re assured of.

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