The State of the State: Nevada

July 18, 2023

A look at what’s happening on the Nevada sports scene: Can the Dodgers continue their surge in the NL West?

© Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

It appears as though things have returned to normal. For most of the first half of the Major League Baseball season, the Dodgers weren’t atop the standings. The franchise that has won the National League West in nine of the previous 10 seasons, wasn’t in first place on most days.

But by the time the All-Star break rolled around, order had been restored. Los Angeles had used a four-game winning streak to pull even with Arizona on the ledger, with a better winning percentage putting the Dodgers in the top spot.

Now, L.A. will see if they can continue its dominance of the division. The Diamondbacks have proven to be scrappy, the Giants are back in the mix and the high-priced Padres aren’t to be counted out just yet.

Why to like Los Angeles to win the NL West (-230)…

  • Four of the first five players in their lineup on a nightly basis were in the All-Star Game, as Mookie Betts, Freddie Freeman, Will Smith and J.D. Martinez pack a lot of punch
  • L.A. is by far the most-balanced team in the division; its +76 run differential at the break was more than double that of Arizona (+27), San Diego (+39) or San Francisco (+31)
  • The Dodgers can hit for power; their 149 home runs at the All-Star break were second in the NL, with Betts leading the way (26)

Why to not like Los Angeles in the NL West…

  • The Dodgers didn’t pitch particularly well in the first half; their team ERA was 4.50, which was 11th in the National League
  • Clayton Kershaw was having a great season (10-4, 2.55), but the 35-year-old lefthander will be sidelined for a few more weeks due to soreness in his shoulder
  • L.A. is only hitting .243 as a team, which is 11th in the NL; if their power wanes at all, they could have issues scoring runs

Richard DeMala’s pick: Los Angeles to win the NL West (-230)