Two of the best teams in the National League squared off this weekend at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles and the Dodgers (41-19) swept the AL East-leading Philadelphia Phillies (33-26). The Dodgers also became the first team to win 40 games this season.
This weekend’s sweep also included a walk-off home run in the bottom of the ninth inning. Rookie catcher Will Smith, who joined the team earlier in the week after getting called up from the minor leagues when Austin Barnes went on the IL.
Smith, 24, originally from Louisville, Kentucky, collected two hits in his Dodgers debut against the Mets. He hit his first career home run against the Phillies with the walk-off.
“That was awesome,” said Will Smith. “I’ll remember that forever.”
“A lot of fun to see Will do that at the end,” said teammate Clayton Kershaw. “Will just oozes professionalism. It just seems like he’s been here a long time.”
The Dodgers and their top notching pitching staff shut down the Phillies. The Phillies were lucky they did not have to face Hyun-Jin Ryu during the series, but they still struggled against Clayton Kershaw, Rich Hill, and Kent Maeda.
Bryce Harper is hitting .248 with 11 home runs and 43 RBI this season with his new team. He went 2-for-12 against the Dodgers this weekend with one homer.
“We bumped up against a red-hot team,” said Phillies manager Gabe Kapler. “They outplayed us.”
The Dodgers best hitter, Cody Bellinger (20 HR and 52 RBI), did not hit any bombs this series, but he went 4-for-11 against the Phillies with all singles. His NL-leading average dipped to .376 on the season.
Left fielder Joc Pederson slugged two homers over the weekend and now has 18 home runs on the season.
Meanwhile, the Phillies hope the recent acquisition of Jay Bruce can help them over the long haul.
First to 40
With the walk-off victory on Saturday night, the Dodgers became the first team in baseball to win 40 games. They currently have 41 wins for the most in MLB.
The Dodgers opened up a 9-game lead over the Rockies (31-27) in second place. The upstart San Diego Padres (30-29) are keeping their heads above water after a tough road trip to the East Coast that included a three-game series against the Replacement Yankees in the Bronx.
The Milwaukee Brewers (34-26) lead the NL Central, with the Chicago Cubs (31-26) only 1.5 games out of first place.
The Phillies are still holding on to first place in the AL East. The Atlanta Braves (32-27) appreciated the Dodgers sweep because they are only one game behind the Phillies.
On Deck: D-Backs and Giants
The Dodgers won five games in a row and currently lead the majors with 41 victories. The Minnesota Twins and Houston Astros are the only two other teams with 40 wins this season.
The Dodgers hit the road for eight games, but do not have to travel too far from SoCal. They face the Arizona Diamondbacks (30-30) this week, before flying up to San Francisco to face their rival the Giants (24-34) at Oracle Park. The Giants are in last place, but those games are always intense.
The Dodgers finish their road trip with a two-game series in Anaheim against the Angels early next week.
According to the South Point Casino and Sports Book in Las Vegas, the LA Dodgers are one of the favorites to win the 2019 World Series at 9/2 odds. The Houston Astros, despite a rash of injuries to key players like Carlos Correa and slugger George Springer, are 4/1 odds to win the World Series.