Having achieved so many feats over the past two months, the Dodgers can add another in the next 36 hours. With two more wins, today in Philadelphia and Monday in Miami, the Dodgers would improve their post-All Star break record to 27-3 – a .900 winning percentage.
But those two games should also be the toughest of their current road trip. This morning, Los Angeles sends Ricky Nolasco against Cole Hamels, who has pitched better than his 5-13 record. Since July 1, Hamels has a 1.98 ERA with 47 strikeouts against 63 baserunners in 59 innings. He has been averaging 7.4 innings per start, and most recently had a complete game 5-1 victory with nine strikeouts over the one team in the majors with a better record than the Dodgers, Atlanta.
Hamels did throw a season-high 123 pitches in that game, but he has had five days off between then and today’s start.
Monday might pose an even greater challenge. The Dodgers will have wonderful rookie Hyun-Jin Ryu open things against the Marlins, but are scheduled to face their own wonderful rookie in Jose Fernandez, who has a 2.45 ERA and 149 strikeouts in 139 2/3 innings with 136 baserunners allowed.
The one advantage the Dodgers figure to have in both games is in their starting lineup, although against lefty Hamels, Los Angeles will begin with Carl Crawford and Adrian Gonzalez on the bench. A.J. Ellis and Juan Uribe are also resting, meaning that Scott Van Slyke will be in left field, Jerry Hairston Jr. at first base, Tim Federowicz at catcher and Nick Punto at third base.
Among other things, the Dodgers have also become the first team to win 19 road games out of 20 since the 1916 New York Giants, according to STATS (via The Associated Press).
And here’s one more for you. Since June 22, the Dodgers are 34 games over .500. The other teams with winning records in the National League are a combined 29 games over .500.