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NL West Standings: Starting Pitching Keeping Dodgers Afloat

The Dodgers have had trouble scoring runs all season, and their offensive struggles reared their ugly head again this weekend, as the club managed to score just five runs in three games against Arizona. The Dodgers are at 19-22, three games under .500, with the second-worst run differential in the National League, yet are somehow only four games out of first place in the NL West. Starting pitching is keeping the Dodgers from completely sinking so far this season.

The Dodgers have gotten a quality start (six innings or more, allowing three earned runs or less) in 20 out of their last 26 games. During that span, the collective ERA from the starters is 2.86 and the pitchers have averaged 6.65 innings per start. However, the Dodgers are also just 13-13 during that span thanks to an offense that has scored fewer runs than the Padres this season.

The Dodgers' offense ranks 15th out of 16 teams in the NL in runs per game, ahead of only the Giants, who happen to be in first place in the NL West. San Francisco has perfected the "pitching good, offense bad" strategy, and hold a game and a half lead over the Rockies, who looked like they would run away and hide from the division earlier in the season. After their 11-2 start, Colorado is just 9-16, and they have won just one of their eight three-game series all season.

NL West Standings
Team W-L Pct GB
Giants 22-17 .564 ---
Rockies 20-18 .526
Dodgers 19-22 .463 4
Diamondbacks 17-22 .436 5
Padres 17-23 .425

The Dodgers host the Giants for two games this week, Wednesday and Thursday, as the start of interleague play brings with it the oddity of a pair of two-game sets for each team before the weekend interleague fun begins. The Dodgers battle the White Sox in Chicago next weekend.

For more news and information on the Dodgers, be sure to read the SB Nation blog True Blue LA.