The month of July began with hope. The Dodgers were still in second place but by only 2.5 games. The first-place Diamondbacks had just begun to slump and the Dodgers were hitting multiple home runs every day.
The homer-happy Dodgers began to slump at the end of June, due to the fact that they couldn’t hit with runners in scoring position. But when the Dodgers turned the page on the calendar, they also turned the page in the story of this season.
The Dodgers’ bats exploded against the Pirates in the days around the fourth of July, giving fans extra fireworks to watch during the game. The Dodges scored in many ways during the series. They hit ten home runs to go along with eleven RBI singles and doubles.
The Dodgers then lost 2 out of 3 to the Angels, in games they should have won. Afterward, they went to San Diego where they won 3 of 4 games. On July 12, while the Dodgers were in San Diego, we were finally able to say what we’ve been waiting to say all year: “the Dodgers are in first place!” They finally accomplished this feat with a 3-2 win over the Padres.
Then it was time to bring the Angels back to Chavez Ravin to end the honorary first half of the season. The Dodgers finished the first half in style, with Clayton Kershaw throwing eight innings to give them a happy flight to Washington D.C.
The All-Star break was full of talk about the Dodgers. They sent three players to the game: Matt Kemp, Ross Stripling, and Kenley Jansen. In addition, Max Muncy competed in the home run derby. Muncy beat Javier Báez in the first round of the derby, before falling to the hometown hero, Bryce Harper.
The next day, we got to see our All-Stars team up with the best players from other National League teams and compete against the best from the AL. The All-Star game had almost as many home runs as the derby did the night before. But the highlights of the game had to be in-game interviews with some of the players, including our very own Matt Kemp.
All the news about the Dodgers didn’t end when the All-Star game ended. In fact, it was just beginning. There were rumors about Manny Machado, the Orioles’ shortstop, being traded all year. But on the day of the All-Star game, a new leader in the Machado sweepstakes was announced. As you know, it was the Dodgers. By Thursday, the Dodgers were on their way to Milwaukee with Machado the newest member of the roster.
Machado began to impact the Dodgers almost immediately. Machado recorded his first Dodgers hit in game one and his first extra-base hit and RBI in game three in Milwaukee. From there, the Dodgers went to Philadelphia where Machado reached base in every game. The Dodgers, however, lost two of three games to the Phillies.
The Dodgers then traveled to Atlanta for a four-game series against the Braves. Machado stole the show in the first game with his first Dodgers home run, but Rich Hill deserved the credit for the win with seven scoreless innings. The Dodgers beat the Braves in the next two games before losing the series finale. In the final game, Sean Newcombe no-hit the Dodgers through 8 2/3 innings.
The Dodgers then lost the first two games of the series against the Brewers. In game two, and the final game of July, Wade Miley shutout the Dodgers through seven innings in a 1-0 Dodgers loss.
While I was on Catalina Island, away from wifi and cell service, the 2018 non-waiver trade deadline came and went. Because of this, you can probably imagine my surprise when I came back home on Friday and discovered the Dodgers had made more major trades.
You already know about the Manny Machado trade. In the month of July after being traded to the Dodgers, Machado slashed .286/.407/469 with two home runs.
In addition to Machado, the Dodgers added more lineup depth when they acquired Brian Dozier in exchange from Logan Forsythe and two prospects. They also added a couple pitchers to the bullpen.