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Dodgers hoping to press their advantage

8/20/2012

This NL West race has yet to follow a predictable pattern, so this looks like a bad time for the Dodgers to begin to feel comfortable.

They've got the weight of momentum behind them, having just won seven of the 10 games on a challenging East Coast road trip and with the newest additions to their roster providing the fuel. The San Francisco Giants, on the other hand, have shown mixed, mostly negative signals since losing their second-best hitter, Melky Cabrera, to a 50-game drug suspension.

But the last time the Dodgers figured they had gained the upper hand in this rivalry, after they outscored the Giants 19-3 in a three-game sweep in San Francisco, they came home and played one of their worst series of the year and were swept by the Arizona Diamondbacks.

In other words, the Dodgers aren't good enough to take the field with any degree of certainty, particularly when they have to contend with Madison Bumgarner and Matt Cain.

What they are good enough to do is to ride this momentum until it collapses. Shane Victorino has six doubles and 12 runs scored in the 17 games he has been a Dodger. Hanley Ramirez has 27 RBIs in 24 games with this team.

After the Dodgers took two of three in Atlanta over the weekend, Chipper Jones -- 21-year vet, future Hall of Famer -- told reporters, "The Dodgers are playing well -- kudos to their GM for making the moves that they did at the Trade Deadline. They're a lot better club than we faced earlier in the season."

That might be the Dodgers' biggest edge over their rival: They've added while the Giants, apparently, have subtracted. Now, if only the math were so simple.