Are the Dodgers doing it right this time around?
Let us take a look back at the 2012 season. Remember, they were 30-13 and had a seven-game lead in the NL West in late May. On June 17, they were still 17 games over .500 and held a half-game lead in the division as late as Aug. 19 before falling apart and dropping to as many as 10 games behind the Giants.
The 2013 Dodgers have a completely different feel. After battling all kinds of injury and performance issues through a good portion of the first half, they have gone 27-6 since June 21, turning a 9½-game deficit in the West into a 3½-game lead. They're doing it sometimes in blowout fashion, sometimes with huge come-from-behind wins, sometimes with dominant performances -- pitching or offensively -- and sometimes in dramatic, walk-off fashion.
Looking ahead, this team is primed for a much better conclusion than last season and it seems rather obvious.
The front end of the rotation has an outstanding threesome in Clayton Kershaw -- the best pitcher in baseball from where I sit -- Zack Greinke and Hyun-jin Ryu. Slotting Ricky Nolasco as a No. 4 is very strong, too. The work those four are doing right now is sustainable.
The offense can actually be better once Matt Kemp comes back healthy. Doubt him if you must, but he was crushing the ball -- showing signs his shoulder was finally feeling healthy -- before that freak ankle sprain. He's still in his prime and has tons of ability. Add him to Adrian Gonzalez, Hanley Ramirez, Carl Crawford, Yasiel Puig et al and things are looking rather scary down the stretch.
It's coming together in a way that says to me these Dodgers are different and won't fall apart. As I predicted during the All-Star break, the Dodgers are going to win the NL West.
And as things look right now, it's entirely possible that's not even close to where it stops. Look at the playoff rotation and lineup.
Please feel free to contact me with comments either on Twitter (@MattSnyder27) or via email: firstname.lastname@example.org. These were posted the morning of Wed., July 31. Any action coming after posting wasn't included here -- a fact that seems to escape many people later in the week.