Dodgers Have Good Shot to Capture NL West Lead by Week’s End

On paper it looks like the San Diego Padres, who hold a tenuous one-game lead in the NL West over the Dodgers, will still lead the NL West after the weekend. The Padres get to play at depressed Seattle while the Dodgers have to play the NL Central-leading Detroit Tigers.

But the Padres may be a good fit for the Mariners to earn a few wins and the Dodgers get to face the back of the Tigers’ rotation. Take a look:

Tonight: SDP Wade LeBlanc vs. SEA Cliff Lee
Tomorrow: SDP Clayton Richards vs. SEA Ryan Rowland-Smith
Sunday: SDP Mat Latos vs. SEA Felix Hernandez

In the Dodgers-Tigers match-up?

Tonight: LAD Chad Billingsley vs. DET Dontrelle Willis
Tomorrow: LAD John Ely vs. DET Armando Galarraga
Sunday: LAD Hiroki Kuroda vs. DET Rick Porcello

Gotta like those odds as a Dodger fan. The Latos-King Felix match-up looks most interesting for Sunday. On the other hand, the Mariners’ offense can make any team look like they’re facing the 1890 Cleveland Spiders, so who knows.

It’s a little more complicated than starting pitcher match-ups, but long and short of it is the Dodgers are at least tied for the division if they win two of three and the Padres lose two of three. With the Mariners throwing out two of their best starters, I’d lean in their favor. Likewise, the Tigers are starting their two worst pitchers this year (Porcello has a 11.9 hits per nine rate; Willis has a 6.1 walks per nine rate) and a minor league call-up. The Dodgers don’t have to see Justin Verlander and the Dodgers’ offense should be able to take advantage even without Andre Ethier. while two of Kuroda, Bills and Ely should find their way through the Tigers’ line-up.

That’s my one unknown, is what the Tigers’ line-up has to say. Starting four guys with sub-.80 OPS+s is hilarious, but it’s not those four that I’m worried about.

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