Dodgers beat Angels to become first NL team to 60 wins

For only the fifth time in franchise history Dodgers won 60 games before the All-Star break.

This time they got there by a roundabout way.

Their best starter Walker Buhlerand sedative, Blake Trainsreceived serious injuries.

One former MVP Clayton Kershaw, was excluded for a month. The other, Mookie Betts, was out for two weeks. The third, Cody Bellinger, was perhaps their worst player.

Their future Hall of Famer, Craig Kimbrel, was one of their least reliable bullpen hands.

Less than a month ago, they didn’t even lead their own unit.

And still…

They finished the first half with 20 wins in 25 games and went into the All-Star break with 7-1 slaughter of angels on Saturday night for their fourth straight win.

They have a 60-30 National League-best record and a 9.5-game lead in the Western National League, running from the struggling San Diego Padres and San Francisco Giants.

And they have five All-Stars, with Tyler Anderson joins the mix Saturday as an NL replacement after his 10 wins at the start of the season and an earned run average of 2.96.

“We did a really good job” manager Dave Roberts said. “I expect to be number one; everything we do. But the most important thing is how we got there. The loss of key parts did not bother anyone. We just have to keep moving on and put on the blinders. So this break comes at the right time.”

Dodgers starting pitcher Julio Urias pitches during the first half against the Angels on Saturday.

Dodgers starting pitcher Julio Urias pitches during the first half against the Angels on Saturday.

(Alex Gallardo/Associated Press)

On Saturday afternoon, Roberts gave his team an A-minus for playing in the first half. By the end of the night, they could raise this mark a little higher.

Lefty Julio Uriasone of several All-Stars on the list, gave up just one try in seven strong innings, dropping his ERA to 2.89, and the top MLB team, the Dodgers, began pitching an ERA to 2.77.

The line-up hit four home runs: two off Trea Turner, his 11th career multiplayer game; a three-round burst from Max Munsey that came during the third five-round inning that put the game out of reach; and Freddie Freeman’s solo run, which earned him his 1,000th career RBI.

They make it to half time as the second-best run-on-base-plus-miss team among teams.

After having to fight for the division in the second half of last year – unsuccessfully, finishing second to the Giants despite 106 wins – the Dodgers also have a much-needed break in the standings. Their division is ranked third in baseball. Plus, they have a five-game lead for the top two seeds in the NL, which guarantees a goodbye to the division series in this year’s redesigned playoff format.

“Obviously we played really well,” Turner said. “The record and standings show it. But we are not complacent. I think we want to get better and keep playing good baseball.”

There are more ways for the Dodgers to do it.

They have a ton of injured pitchers, from Buehler and Treinen to Brousdard Gratherol, Dustin May and Tommy Kanle, and they’re looking to make it back to the playoffs.

By next month’s trade deadline, they could add anything from another starting pitcher – they’ve already been linked with Cincinnati Reds all-star Luis Castillo – to extra depth on the bench among their possible needs.

But even after a flawed first half of the season that included early struggles against divisional opponents, a brief slump in mid-May, a month-long offensive malaise in June, and injuries mostly to the pitching staff, the Dodgers find themselves in a quandary. an enviable position as they break down for a midsummer classic.

“Sixty wins is a lot of wins in the first half,” Freeman said. “We’ve been playing pretty good baseball lately. Sometimes you don’t want the All-Star break to come. But I think we can all use the rest.”