The Dodgers probably aren't going to win the National League West in 2016. Let's get that out of the way first. But if they are to overcome their 6½-game deficit over the final 71 games of the season, here is what lies ahead.
Baseball Prospectus gives the Dodgers a 28.9-percent chance to win the division, while FanGraphs says LA has a 25.2-percent chance to finish atop the NL West.
Those numbers feel right to me. Even if you think the Dodgers are the superior team going forward, the Giants have built themselves a nice cushion with their 6½-game lead.
Since the schedule expanded to 162 games in 1962, the Dodgers have finished at least tied for first place at the end of a season after trailing with 71 games left six times (1962, 1980, 1983, 1995, 2006, 2013), but the largest deficit with 71 games remaining in those years was four games.
The Dodgers in 2016 are down 6½ games.
But there are a few other races worth noting as well:
The Dodgers trailed the Braves by seven games through 91 games, and that deficit grew to 10½ games starting play on July 30. Within 12 days, thanks in large part to eight wins over Atlanta during that span, the Dodgers were up a half-game in the NL West, but they would end up falling just short, eliminated on the penultimate day of the season.
Trailing the Giants by four with 71 games left, the Dodgers did catch San Francisco and led the division for 27 days after that point. LA's division lead was as high as 2½ games, meaning that team saw a swing of 6½ games, the deficit this year's team currently faces, but this serves as a reminder that the odds of winning the division account for the fact that you not only have to catch the team(s) ahead of you, but you have to finish ahead of them, too.
Or at least tied, which brings us to...
Through 91 games the Dodgers trailed the Padres by 2½ games, but that schizophrenic team was at the beginning of a skid that saw them fall 7½ games back. The 2006 Dodgers lost 13 of 14 games, including eight straight, then immediately followed that with an 11-game win streak and 17 victories in 18 games. That brought the Dodgers from 7½ games back to 3½ games up, a run made even more remarkable because the Dodgers didn't even play San Diego during that span.
The Dodgers had at least a share of the division lead for 42 days after Game 91 that year, though the two clubs ended the season tied atop the NL West. San Diego owned the head-to-head tiebreaker so they won the division, with the Dodgers the wild card team.
First, here are some simple facts:
The Dodgers have 33 home games left, and 38 road games. The Giants have 35 home games, and 37 road games remaining.
The two teams play each other in nine more games — August 23-25 in LA, September 19-21 in LA, and the final three games of the regular season (September 30 - October 2) in San Francisco. The Giants have won six of their 10 head-to-head meetings so far in 2016.
Outside of their games against each other, the Dodgers play 21 teams currently at .500 or better (9 at home, 12 on the road), and the Giants play 33 such games (18 at home, 15 on the road).
Here is a super simplified look at what each team has left:
Common games (32)
Three games each at home against the Padres, Padres, and Rockies; two home games against the Diamondbacks; three road games each against the Padres, Rockies, Diamondbacks, Yankees, Phillies, Nationals and Marlins.
Same opponent, different venue (13)
Cardinals: Dodgers 3 games in St. Louis, Giants 4 games in San Francisco
Red Sox: Dodgers 3 games in Los Angeles, Giants 2 games in Boston
Reds: Dodgers 4 games in Cincinnati, Giants 3 games in San Francisco
Cubs: Dodgers 3 games in Los Angeles, Giants 4 games in Chicago
in order of opponents records
Dodgers (17): Philles (3 at home), Rockies (1 at home, 3 on road), Diamondbacks (4 at home, 4 on road), Rays (2 at home)
Giants (18): Nationals (4 at home), Orioles (3 at home), Mets (4 at home), Padres (4 on road), Braves (3 at home)
The unique opponents is where the Giants have the much tougher schedule, but all 11 of their unique games against winning teams are in San Francisco.