Dodgers links: Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez, Yasiel Puig, NL West race

USA TODAY Sports

The Dodgers begin the "second half" at the Washington Nationals, trailing the Arizona Diamondbacks by 2 1/2 games in the division.

The dog days of summer are still going on, but every Dodger game holds extra importance because of the tight race. Prior to opening day, 47-47 at the All-Star break would've been considered disappointing. However, now the Dodgers appear happy to be within striking range, per Beth Harris of the Associated Press.

Playing the blame game early on was easy, but injuries really set the Dodgers back, per Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times. The team believes the clean bill of health directly correlates to positive results.

During the turnaround, the bullpen deserves the majority of the credit, per Stephen Bailey of the Los Angeles Times.

J.P. Hoornstra of the Daily News outlines what to watch for the Dodgers in the second half.

From Yasiel Puig to Yoenis Cespedes, Cuban baseball continues to garner lots of media attention, and rightfully so. Fellow countryman and pitcher Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez will be following their footsteps. The 26-year-old right-hander plans on being signed by next week, and the Dodgers are in the mix, per Enrique Rojas of ESPN Deportes.com.

Winning the National League rookie of year will be tough, but Puig can do it, per David Brown of Big League Stew.

Puig rivals Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper in both talent and attitude, wrote Jason Reid of the Washington Post.

The Dodgers are having Vin Scully bobblehead night on July 25 against the Cincinnati Reds, per MLB.com.

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