The Los Angeles Dodgers are in 1st place in the National League West. This may still come as a bit of a surprise to some people as the San Francisco Giants had the best record in all of baseball at the All-Star break. The Dodgers have capitalized on the terrible second half of a season the Giants are having and have built a 4 game lead in the division over the Giants. I think a lot of people thought the Giants would right their ship and over take the Dodgers for 1st place, but that hasn’t happened yet and with around 20 games to go it’s looking more and more like it won’t.
On Friday night the Dodgers got some much needed help for their starting as Clayton Kershaw return. Kershaw hadn’t pitched for Los Angeles since June 26th. Kershaw threw 66 pitches over 5 innings giving up 5 hits and 2 runs (both earned) while striking out 8 against the Miami Marlins. Kershaw did take the loss as the Marlins took the game 4-1, but more importantly for the Dodgers there where no after effects from Kershaw’s outing and he should be in the starting rotation for the rest of the regular season and of course the playoffs. Kershaw should make 4 starts the rest of the season with his next one being September 13th or 214th against the New York Yankees. There’s talk of the Dodgers going to a 6-man rotation down the stretch.
Kershaw return became even more important for the Dodgers as Scott Kazmir who was also close to returning from injury had a set back and has had to go back on the disabled list. The Dodgers are also waiting for Brett Anderson and Brandon McCarthy to return from injury. With all their injuries the Dodgers have used 15 different starting pitchers this season. Will Kershaw’s return and the acquisition of Rich Hill along with Kenta Maeda be enough to help the Dodgers make a playoff run?
After Teddy Bridgewater was injured the Minnesota Vikings season was in a bit of turmoil. Minnesota went out and traded a 2017 1st round draft choice and a conditional 2018 draft pick to the Philadelphia Eagles for quarterback Sam Bradford. Minnesota kicks off it’s season on Sunday against the Tennessee Titans. That meant Bradford had a little over a week to get the Vikings offense down and be able to make audible calls. Minnesota’s head coach Mike Zimmer had kept it quit on who the Vikings starter would be for Week 1. Zimmer even said yesterday he had made a decision on who would start, but wasn’t going to announce it. There are now reports out there that Shaun Hill will make the start Week 1 against Tennessee with Bradford as the #2 quarterback. During practices this week it looked like Hill would get the start. Hill took the majority of the first team snaps on Monday and Wednesday with both quarterbacks getting an equal share of snaps at Tuesday’s practice. Do to the timetable of the trade Hill getting the start shouldn’t be a big surprise. The question should be; how long will Hill be the starter? I would think that Bradford is the starter for the Week 2 Sunday night game against the Green Bay Packers.
Tonight is the last night for a driver outside the Top 16 to punch his or maybe her ticket to The Chase with a win. Denny Hamlin starts on the pole tonight for the Federated Auto Parts 400 from Richmond International Raceway. Kyle Larsen starts 2nd with Matt Kenseth 3rd. Jamie McMurray goes off 4th with Kurt Busch rounding out the Top 5. McMurray is the first driver in the starting line up who doesn’t have a win this season, but McMurray is currently hanging on to a spot in the Top 16. Chase Elliott and Austin Dillion are the other two drivers who would qualify for The Chase on points right now. Elliott starts tonight’s race 34th while Dillion starts 8th. McMurray has a 22 point lead over 17th place Ryan Newman while Dillion is 31 points ahead of Newman and Elliott has a 39 point lead on Newman. Kasey Kahne is the 18th place driver 44 points out of The Chase and it’s looking like Kahne will need a win to get in. Kahne has won a race at Richmond before, but it was back in 2005. Could Kahne or another driver without a win on the season pick one up tonight and grab a spot in The Chase?
Kyle Busch starts the defense of his Sprint Cup title as The Chase starts September 18th at the Chicagoland Speedway with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 400.
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