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Race for the West: September 10th-16th

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Time is running out and the Giants and Dodgers are giving it their all

MLB: Arizona Diamondbacks at Los Angeles Dodgers

15 opportunities. That’s all there’s left for the two best teams in baseball to avoid an outcome that wouldn’t even be a possibility if they weren’t in the same division, the dreaded one game Wild Card.

Either side at this point will have to contend with a big disappointment if they fail to capture the NL West crown. It’s obvious that if you take a step back and look at the big picture the Dodgers should feel all the pressure in the world. Needing to play a Wild Card game was never in play coming into the season, especially so after the Padres tail off.

Five years from now, regardless of anything that happens this season, 2021 will be viewed as a huge success for the Giants because this team truly blew every single prediction and expectation out of the water. However, in the short term the feeling won’t be, considering they’ve led the West for almost the entire year. In 2021, the Giants have set the tone and the Dodgers are the chasers. Because of that, losing the lead in the final week would sting quite a bit.

Since we last spoke the Giants were in the middle of their road trip having swept the Rockies and the Dodgers had split a four game set out in St Louis. Momentum was on the Giants side.

Here’s what has happened since.

San Francisco Giants: 95-51

Record for the last seven days: 5-2

The Giants left Colorado and travelled to the north side of Chicago to face the Cubs and the series went just as you would expect. A clean sweep.

This is far from the Cubs team that swept a doubleheader against Los Angeles earlier in the year. The Giants jumped early in each game and outscored Chicago 27-10.

That served only to keep their 2.5 games lead since LA had equal success versus the Padres.

Those same Padres were in line for a tough end of the season in the middle of their own struggle to capture that second Wild Card and they left Los Angeles for San Francisco to play four versus the Giants.

The first two of the series were far from competitive and kept the winning streak going for Gabe Kapler’s men all the way to nine with a 6-1 and 9-1 win.

Joe Musgrove took the mound on Wednesday and the Padres jumped on the Giants bullpen early and just managed to squeak by with a 9-6 win. San Francisco had some chances late but ultimately failed to capitalize.

Los Angeles Dodgers: 94-53

Record for the last seven days: 6-0

The home stand went about as well as it could with six wins in six games against the San Diego Padres and Arizona Diamondbacks.

The highlight of the series against the Padres was the starting pitching.

Julio Urias, Walker Buehler and Max Scherzer the latter which carried a perfect game all the way until the eighth inning combined for the following line:

22 Innings

2 Earned Runs

21 Strikeouts

3 Walks

The D-Backs actually kept it close for the most part trailing by three or less as far the seventh inning in each game but while in baseball these things could change quickly the Dodgers looked in control at all times.

Current outlook:

NL West

1st Giants 95-52

2nd Dodgers 94-53 (1 GB)

What’s on the schedule?

San Francisco will welcome the Braves into town in a battle of first place teams before heading to San Diego to play three with the Padres.

Los Angeles starts a three city road trip with its first two stops being Cincinnati and Colorado, playing three a piece with each.

Side note: Both teams clinched a playoff spot this week but that’s merely a formality at this point.