Are we looking at the 2012 NL Western Division Winner?

Don Mattingly has a lot to be smiling about. (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)

Aaron Harang will try and go 2-0 against the Milwaukee Brewers and Shaun Marcum this afternoon as the Dodgers and Brewers begin a four-game series that will take them to the end of May and end of two terrific months at home. Last year, the Dodgers had just a 2-game home set against the Brewers which they split, overall the Dodgers are 29-16 against Milwaukee's finest in their short history playing each other regularly.

The Dodgers begin the day with a 7.5 game lead. This only the second time since the Wild Card era began in 1995, that the Dodgers have had sole position of first place as play began on Memorial Day, the only other time was in 2009 when the Dodgers had the same 7.5 game lead. Twice, the Dodgers were tied for first place (and ended up not making the playoffs).

The Dodgers did go on to win the NL West in 1995, 2004 and 2008 without leading at this first milestone of the season. But there is no question, a lead of this size is unusual of the 96 previous division leaders since 1995, only 6 have had leads of 7.5 games or more at this point of the season, all of them won their respective divisions.

I read somewhere where 60% of division leaders at this point since 1995 make the playoffs regardless of small or large their lead is at this point. And while last season's finish tell us that no lead is safe, it is nice to have banked a nice opening deposit on in the 2012 season.

Game Time: 5:10 p.m.

TV: Prime Ticket

MLB Gameday

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