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Can the Dodgers finish with MLB’s best record?

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A look at the strength of the contender’s schedules

MLB: Los Angeles Dodgers at Washington Nationals Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

LOS ANGELES —— With the regular season ending eight weeks from today, the Dodgers are in a very good position to the clinch their seventh straight NL West title and also finish with the best record in the National League.

  • The 16 game lead the Dodgers have today is the largest lead they have had during this run of NL West division title chases. Only in 2017, when the Dodgers held a 14 game lead entering play on August 4, 2017 is close. The Dodgers did lead in four of the five seasons with the largest lead being 4½ games in 2013. Last season, the Dodgers and Diamondbacks were tied for first entering play on August 4, 2018.
  • The Dodgers have a 6½ game lead over Atlanta for the National League’s best record. They also have a 3-0 lead over the Braves in their series play this year. The Dodgers will play at Atlanta in two weeks to finish their regular season play.
  • The Dodgers have a 12½ game lead over the Cubs and a 13 game lead over the Cardinals. They have already won the season series against the Cubs and lost their season series against the Cardinals, though right now, it seems unlikely that will matter if they meet in postseason play.

The race for the best overall record in MLB is very tight right now. The Dodgers at 73-40 have a mere half-game lead over both the 72-40 Astros and the 71-39 Yankees. The Twins site 3½ games back of the Dodgers.

The Dodgers and Yankees will meet later this month for a weekend series at Dodger Stadium, whoever wins that series will gain a tiebreaker should they end up tied with each other at the end of the season.

Using today’s records, here is a glance of the strength of schedules of contenders for MLB’s best record this season.

2019 MLB Top Teams - Standings and Games to be Played

Rank Team League Games Played Wins Losses W-L% vs. East vs. Central vs. West Interleague Home Road
Rank Team League Games Played Wins Losses W-L% vs. East vs. Central vs. West Interleague Home Road
1 Dodgers NL 113 73 40 0.646 18-6 19-11 33-17 3-6 42-15 31-25
2 Yankees AL 110 71 39 0.645 38-14 14-12 9-6 10-7 42-18 29-21
3 Astros AL 112 72 40 0.643 13-10 14-10 37-12 8-8 40-15 32-25
4 Twins AL 110 68 42 0.618 18-11 26-13 19-11 5-7 33-21 35-21
5 Indians AL 110 65 45 0.591 15-9 31-19 13-12 6-5 35-23 30-22
6 Braves NL 112 66 46 0.589 28-18 20-12 14-12 4-4 32-24 34-22
Rank Team League Games Remaining ≥.500 < .500 vs. East vs. Central vs. West Interleague Home Road
1 Dodgers NL 49 17 32 9 3 26 11 24 25
2 Yankees AL 52 26 26 24 7 18 3 21 31
3 Astros AL 50 25 25 9 10 27 4 26 24
4 Twins AL 52 25 27 3 37 4 8 27 25
5 Indians AL 52 33 19 10 26 7 9 23 29
6 Braves NL 50 23 27 30 1 7 12 25 25
As of games played through August 3, 2019

Of course, these records could change if the Giants and Diamondbacks are both over or under .500, that would affect the Dodger’s strength of schedule slightly. But hopefully, this does provide some context for the last two months of the regular season.

Dodger injuries and rehab assignments update

Kiké Hernández was doing agility drills this morning before the game, manager Dave Roberts was asked if this meant Chris Taylor and Hernández were swinging a bat.

“They have, it’s dry swings right now, they’re both going to need a rehab assignment,” Roberts said, “so as we sit here on Sunday, hopefully, by the end of the week, maybe next weekend, we’ll get them out on rehab assignment, but that’s to be seen, each day they’ll continue to progress, we’ll make that assessment.”

Robert said that Hernandez is a couple days ahead of Taylor in terms of getting out on an assignment.

As for David Freese, there is no current timetable, the goal for him remains to be playing in the postseason. They are looking at the end of August or the beginning of September before seeing Freese back. Roberts also said Freese is driving his rehab for now.

Ross Stripling is going to do a rehab assignment with the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes this Tuesday. Roberts went over the plan this morning.

“Ross threw a good bullpen yesterday [Saturday], 34 pitches I think it was,, felt really good” Roberts said, “so the plan is as we sit here today is to get him on a rehab assignment on Tuesday and it will be two innings, if it goes well, then he will do a third in the pen. After that then we’ll see if we have to keep stretching him out or get him here back with us. So it buys us time and gets us right.”

Roberts also said that Hyun-Jin Ryu is still scheduled to miss one start, he should return to pitch next Sunday against the Diamondbacks at Dodger Stadium or pitch the first game of the series versus Marlins in Miami the following Tuesday.

Other Sunday notes

Roberts said today that he believes that both Joc Pederson and Alex Verdugo can play all three outfield positions as he expanded on that this morning.

“In talking to Joc, he’s much more comfortable in right, so if all thinks being equal, having a player be comfortable sort of trumps things and Alex is indifferent, so that’s a good thing.”

The rotation for the upcoming series against the Cardinals will be Tony Gonsolin, Clayton Kershaw and Dustin May.