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Divisional Play Key For Dodgers

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Matt Kemp and the Dodgers went 69-32 against NL West foes from the beginning of 2009 through the 2010 All-Star break.
Matt Kemp and the Dodgers went 69-32 against NL West foes from the beginning of 2009 through the 2010 All-Star break.

The Dodgers have an opportunity to win their four-game series with the Giants tonight, gaining an all-important divisional series win. In a potentially tightly-packed National League West race, winning divisional games is of paramount importance. NL West play has been the barometer for the Dodgers in the last two years.

In 2009, the Dodgers were 46-26 against the NL West, winning the season series against all four opponents, and finished with the best record in the National League. They had a series record of 16-5-3, and at home were 25-11 within their division at home.

Last season, even though the Dodgers struggled out of the gate, they were still able to stay in contention in the first half thanks to dominating the NL West. The Dodgers opened 2010 with a 23-6 record against the NL West, winning nine series and splitting another (two-game set). The Dodgers went into the All-Star break with a 49-39 record, just two games behind the Padres for the divisional lead and tied with the Rockies for the wild card lead.

Then, things began to fall apart. The Dodgers went 31-43 after the break, sinking to fourth place and an under-.500 finish, thanks in large part to a 17-26 record within the NL West. The Dodgers went 9-0-1 in series against the division before the All-Star break, but were just 3-11 in series afterward.

The Dodgers haven't won a four-game series against the Giants at Dodger Stadium in 10 years, when they won three of four games from July 2-5, 2001. However, this is only the fourth four-game set at Dodger Stadium between the two teams since then. This is the 28th four-game series between the Dodgers and Giants at Dodger Stadium, and the Dodgers have won 12 series, lost eight, and split seven.

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Game Time: 5 p.m.

TV: ESPN2

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