The Dodgers are 44-26. That translates to 102-win pace, and yet the club still resides a rung below Colorado in the National League West — and tied with Arizona, to boot. The Dodgers swept the Reds this weekend to complete a 5-1 road trip through Ohio. Yet they gained no ground. The Rockies swept the lowly Giants and the Diamondbacks swept the cellar-dwelling Phillies.

So here we are, in the middle of June, in a dynamic division race. It will be fascinating to see if the pitching staff of the Rockies can hold up through the long summer at Coors Field. The same principle applies to Arizona’s lineup, which boasts Paul Goldschmidt, Jake Lamb and little else to concern opposing pitchers. The season is not even halfway complete, but the three-way dance should be entertaining.

The Dodgers return home on Monday for a four-game series with the Mets, their antagonists from the 2015 National League Division Series. These Mets have regressed into their injury-laden past, and flew west on Sunday after getting wrecked by Washington over the weekend. Here are the matchups for this week at Dodger Stadium:

Monday: RHP Zach Wheeler (3-4, 4.48 ERA) vs. LHP Clayton Kershaw (9-2, 2.23 ERA)

Tuesday: RHP Robert Gsellman (5-4, 5.50 ERA) vs. RHP Brandon McCarthy (5-3, 3.14 ERA)

Wednesday: TBD vs. LHP Rich Hill (3-3, 5.14 ERA)

Thursday: LHP Steven Matz (1-1, 3.21 ERA) vs. LHP Alex Wood (7-0, 1.90 ERA)

As always, there are plenty of other things to discuss. You can send me questions on Twitter @McCulloughTimes. Let’s do this.

I’ll say this: Hatcher’s staying power is certainly confounding, especially with a team that prides itself on being a meritocracy. Ross Stripling pitched a couple bad games and lost his spot. Josh Fields may lose his spot after four rough ones this month. Morrow didn’t even give up a run during his cameo, and he lost his spot.

The main reason Hatcher is still on the roster is he is out of options. If the team designated him for assignment, he could be claimed by any of the 29 other clubs. The Dodgers front office, it is readily apparent, fears this outcome far more than Dodgers fans do. I understand the theory behind depth — it is a guiding principle for the organization, and it has clearly worked these past three seasons — but Hatcher is testing the viability of that theory.



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