Jayson Stark's latest ESPN column says the Dodgers are for real...with a caveat:
Los Angeles Dodgers
Record: 13-6, opponent average vs. pitching staff: .217
They went 9-1 in their first 10 games. They went 12-3 in their first 15. Something wild and crazy always happens in the NL West. And it's tempting to conclude that this year's wild and crazy development is this team.
But even though the Dodgers are more games over .500 than they've been in a year and a half, and Kemp is on pace to hit 85 homers and win the octuple crown, the rest of the sport is in wait-and-see mode.
"They've played most of their games against San Diego, Pittsburgh and Houston," one NL executive said. "So you tell me how real this is."
"They spent the first two weeks of the season in Southern California, playing some really bad teams," said an NL scout. "And that's a nice way to get some momentum going. But in the long run, I don't think their rotation's that deep beyond [Clayton] Kershaw. And their lineup's not that deep. You're going to start to see pitchers pitching around Kemp and [Andre] Ethier, and there's not much support around them."
But we need to remember something, said another NL executive: The Dodgers don't play in the NL East or AL East. They play in an exceptionally winnable division. So we'll let him read the verdict: "REAL -- because they play in the NL West."