Now that we’ve had a few days to soak in another round of blockbuster trades that brought Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett, Carl Crawford, and Nick Punto to Los Angeles to join new acquisitions Hanley Ramirez and Shane Victorino, it’s time to look at what the Dodgers are up against for the rest of the season.
In the dwindling days of August, the Blue Crew looks forward to September, the final full month of the regular season, and a potential postseason run after the season’s concluding series against the rival Giants.
From this point until the end of the season, the Dodgers have 17 home games in five series and 17 away games in six series, beginning with the current series on the road against the Rockies and ending with a three-game series at home against the Giants.
8/27-8/29 at Rockies
8/30-9/2 vs. Diamondbacks
9/3-9/5 vs. Padres
9/7-9/9 at Giants
9/11-9/12 at Diamondbacks
9/13-9/16 vs. Cardinals
9/18-9/20 at Nationals
9/21-9/23 at Reds
9/25-9/27 at Padres
9/28-9/30 vs. Rockies
10/1-10/3 vs. Giants
Looking at the schedule as a whole, the Dodgers have a pretty balanced lineup of opponents to end the season.
Kicking off the homestretch of the 2012 season with a series at Coors Field with their new power-hitting lineup featuring Kemp, Ethier, Gonzalez, and Ramirez will give the Dodgers good momentum going into September.
Fellow National-League-West-pennant contending Giants and Diamondbacks will then give the Dodgers a good series as they always do. With their newly improved roster, the Boys in Blue should be able to come out on top in these series.
The toughest stretch in the Dodgers remaining games will be against the Nationals (1st, NL East), Reds (1st, NL Central) and Cardinals (2nd, NL Central), which is a tough crew to face.
While the Dodgers swept the Nationals and Cardinals in early-season series at Dodger Stadium, facing the Nationals and Reds back to back on the road could turn into an ugly skid if they can’t manage to produce runs against those teams.
These three series are crucial for the Dodgers, as they will help the team prepare for a potential postseason run. Each team they will face in that stretch could be one that they will face a few weeks later in the playoffs.
As the Dodgers play out the rest of the season in the first weeks of fall with the alluring sight of October baseball up ahead, they’ll have back-to-back series against the Padres and Rockies, which will help them greatly going into their final series of the season.
Even though the two aforementioned teams, which are both in double-digit games below .500, are struggling this season, they won’t be easy to beat (as the Dodgers found out in their most recent 1-2 home series against the Rockies). However, the Dodgers should at least emerge with a winning record from those series.
And then comes the big series—the rivalry: Dodgers vs. Giants.
This series will be huge for the Dodgers, not only with the implications it may carry for the team actually making the playoffs, but also in gearing them up for a postseason run.
The MLB mapped out the end of the season, as it almost always has in recent times, with three-game rivalry series (Yankees vs. Red Sox, Cardinals vs. Reds, etc.). In that sense, the Dodgers aren’t unique in their ability to gear up for the postseason with a huge rivalry series, but they will still endure the benefits of an intense series before the playoffs.
In all, the Dodgers’ remaining schedule is balanced. It features some lesser, equal, and greater opponents, all spread perfectly throughout the ending days of summer and early days of fall.
It’s been a wild year for the Dodgers—one of monumental course. The highs, the lows—they create a buzz of excitement in this city of blue-blooded fans.
With this wild air, don’t be surprised if every one of those last three home games against the Giants at the end of the season has huge playoff implications.
A symphony of cheers or tears brews in Los Angeles for the early days of October.
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