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Timing is good for Dodgers to be starting key stretch vs. NL West

Old adage: Timing is everything.

Dodgers 2013: We certainly hope so.

The Dodgers embark Tuesday on the first of 13 consecutive games against divisional opponents, leading up to the All-Star game.

The National League West has not been a happy place for the Dodgers this season, and that’s not even taking into consideration the fact that they’ve spent most of the first half deep in its cellar.

But the Dodgers are playing their best baseball of the season, having won eight of their last nine, and taking on their divisional rivals at this moment smacks of perfect timing.

“I think right now it feels good about whoever we’re playing,” said Manager Don Mattingly. “And that’s the way you like to be able to go. Worry about yourselves, us playing our best baseball.

“We’re playing pretty good right now, we’re playing with confidence. Just as fast it turned for us, I know how the other side feels. You can’t let your guard down or you’re going in the other direction.”

Though still in last, the Dodgers’ recent spurt has them only four games back of the Arizona Diamondbacks in the NL West -- with exactly half the season remaining.

“We were just hoping to be within striking distance at the break,” said catcher A.J. Ellis. “And we’re there now, going into this trip. Things happened a little quicker than we planned, but we knew this was possible, we knew we could get back in it.”

They still have an imposing task, needing to climb over four teams. And these are teams against which the Dodgers started the season 9-23, until winning their last five against the West.

Now they’re going into Colorado on Tuesday playing well, playing with newfound confidence.

“We have a big 13-game sprint to the All-Star break against teams in our entire division,” Ellis said. “We need to play well. We haven’t done that this year, play well against our division. We need to play well these next four series and then regroup at the All-Star break.”

The Dodgers are 11-9 against the East and 9-6 versus the Central (also 4-5 versus the American League), so their biggest problem has easily been the teams within their division (14-23).

“In a week’s time, things are totally different,” Mattingly said. “The season is long, there are just a lot of games and you can pick up games. You have to get where you’re starting to play well, and that’s where we’re at.”

Which sounds suspiciously, or hopefully, like good timing.

 

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