The Dodgers, Nationals and Cubs started the second half strong, the Indians and Diamondbacks were swept, and a complete breakdown of the MLB standings.

The rest of the National League West surely hoped the All-Star break would help cool down the red-hot Los Angeles Dodgers. Instead, the Dodgers swept the Marlins in a three-game weekend set in Miami to increase their winning streak to nine.

Coupled with the Diamondbacks’ three-game sweep at the hands of the Braves in Atlanta, the Dodgers improved their division lead to 10.5 games, which is now the largest in the National League and the second largest in the majors. Los Angeles even improved its edge over the Houston Astros in the race for the best record in baseball, and increased its big league best run differential to plus-172 over the weekend.

The Dodgers flexed their muscles, but L.A. wasn’t the only club to start the second half strong. In the National League, the Cubs – who made the biggest trade of the season when they added Jose Quintana just after the All-Star Game – also swept their first series following the break. Quintana was brilliant in his first game with his new club, and could be a big factor for Chicago in the second half.

Paired with Arizona’s current five-game losing streak, the Cubs and Braves gained ground in the Wild Card race. The Nationals also opened with three wins in three games, but need a victory Monday afternoon in Cincinnati to finish off a four-game sweep over the Reds.

In the American League, the Mariners and Athletics both got off on the right foot with sweeps of the White Sox and Indians, respectively. Seattle is now just 2.5 games back in the Wild Card race.

American League East

Boston Red Sox (52-41, .562, – GB)

Last Week: 2-2 vs. Yankees

  • Home Record: 27-16
  • Road Record: 25-25
  • Runs Scored: 440
  • Runs Allowed: 377
  • Run Differential: +63
  • Streak: Won 1
  • Last 10: 4-6

Next Week: July 17-20 vs. Blue Jays, July 21-23 at Angels

Tampa Bay Rays (49-44, .527, 3 GB)

Last Week: 2-1 at Angels

  • Home Record: 27-19
  • Road Record: 22-25
  • Runs Scored: 439
  • Runs Allowed: 420
  • Run Differential: +19
  • Streak: Lost 1
  • Last 10: 6-4

Next Week: July 17-19 at Athletics, July 21-23 vs. Rangers

New York Yankees (47-43, .522, 3.5 GB)

Last Week: 2-2 at Red Sox

  • Home Record: 26-17
  • Road Record: 21-26
  • Runs Scored: 488
  • Runs Allowed: 388
  • Run Differential: +100
  • Streak: Lost 1
  • Last 10: 4-6

Next Week: July 17-19 at Twins, July 20-23 at Mariners

Baltimore Orioles (42-49, .462, 9 GB)

Last Week: 0-3 vs. Cubs

  • Home Record: 25-19
  • Road Record: 17-30
  • Runs Scored: 403
  • Runs Allowed: 497
  • Run Differential: -94
  • Streak: Lost 3
  • Last 10: 2-8

Next Week: July 17-20 vs. Rangers, July 21-23 vs. Astros

Toronto Blue Jays (42-49, .462, 9 GB)

Last Week: 1-2 at Tigers

  • Home Record: 22-24
  • Road Record: 20-25
  • Runs Scored: 379
  • Runs Allowed: 449
  • Run Differential: -70
  • Streak: Lost 2
  • Last 10: 5-5

Next Week: July 17-20 at Red Sox, July 21-23 at Indians

Chris Sale and David Price began the second half looking like the dominant one-two punch we expected they would. Sale tossed 7.2 scoreless innings Saturday against the Yankees, in which he allowed just three hits and two walks and struck out 13.

Price followed with eight scoreless innings Sunday during which he scattered seven hits and struck out eight. He now has a 0.90 ERA in 20 innings across three starts in July.

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