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Dodgers’ 10-game road trip poses post-break challenge

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Brewers, Phillies and Braves are on deck

MLB: All Star Game Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

The Dodgers already made a long climb out of a self-created hole, falling 10 games below .500 before rebounding to 10 games over .500 and first place in the National League West at the All-Star break. Now, the real work begins.

Starting things after the four days off is a daunting 10-game road trip that will feature series against the Brewers, Phillies and Braves, three teams that at the moment own better records than the Dodgers.

National League standings

Team W-L (Pct) Run diff.
Team W-L (Pct) Run diff.
Cubs 55-38 (.591) +114
Brewers 55-43 (.561) +49
Phillies 53-42 (.558) +18
Braves 52-42 (.553) +68
Dodgers 53-43 (.552) +82
Diamondbacks 53-44 (.546) +43
Rockies 51-45 (.531) -1
Cardinals 48-46 (.511) +11
Giants 50-48 (.510) -26
Nationals 48-48 (.500) +30

The Dodgers are still in good shape relative to these other National League playoff contenders. At +82, the Dodgers’ run differential is the second-best in the league, behind only the Cubs (+114), and Los Angeles added about as good a midseason reinforcement you will find in Manny Machado.

Projected standings at both Baseball Prospectus and FanGraphs have the Dodgers finishing with a better record than anyone in the NL except Chicago, and the folks at Bovada have the Dodgers pegged as 3/1 favorites to win the pennant, up from 4/1 odds on July 2 and way up from 9/1 odds on June 1. Their 9/2 odds to win the World Series matches the Red Sox and trails only the Yankees (4/1) in MLB.

This road trek through Milwaukee, Philadelphia and Atlanta is the second of three scheduled 10-game trips for the Dodgers this season, with another journey to Colorado, Cincinnati and St. Louis set for Sept. 7-16.

On the first extended road trip this season, an earlier rainout meant the Dodgers needed a doubleheader in San Francisco. That Apr. 27-May 6 trip saw the Dodgers play 11 games in 10 days in three cities and two countries, including a trip to Mexico to face the Padres. They only went 4-7 on that trip, which was par for the course with how the Dodgers were playing back then, during their 16-26 start.

It was notable because as challenging as long road trips are, the Dodgers have generally done quite well in their extended trips. That 4-7 trip was the club’s first losing road trip of 10 or more games since Sept. 6-16, 2010. The Dodgers had 13 long road trips in between and never finished worse than 5-5, going 77-53 (.592) in those games. That’s better than the club’s .566 overall winning percentage in those seasons (2011-17).

Dodgers’ 10-game road trips (2011-2018)

Dates Opponents Record
Dates Opponents Record
June 3-12, 2011 Reds, Phillies, Rockies 5-5
August 15-24, 2011 Brewers, Rockies, Cardinals 5-5
September 1-11, 2011 Pirates, Braves, Nationals, Giants 7-3
June 1-10, 2012 Rockies, Phillies, Mariners 7-3
July 20-29, 2012 Mets, Cardinals, Giants 7-3
August 10-19, 2012 Marlins, Pirates, Braves 7-3
September 16-26, 2013 Diamondbacks, Padres, Giants 5-5
September 12-21, 2014 Giants, Rockies, Cubs 6-4
June 22-July 1, 2015 Cubs, Marlins, Diamondbacks 6-4
July 17-26, 2015 Nationals, Braves, Mets 5-5
September 3-13, 2015 Padres, Angels, Diamondbacks 7-3
September 9-18, 2016 Marlins, Yankees, Diamondbacks 5-5
September 11-21, 2017 Giants, Nationals, Phillies 5-5
April 27-May 6, 2018 Giants, Padres*, Diamondbacks 4-7
*in Monterrey, Mexico