Donâ€™t worry about the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Really. The time for panic and paranoia â€“ which seems to last all-season for most Dodgers fans â€“ is not now. The team, trailing the first-place San Francisco Giants by five games as of Sunday night, is getting its act together.
After an impressive win over the New York Mets, which included two homers from second-baseman Chase Utley, who broke former Mets shortstop Ruben Tejadaâ€™s leg in last yearâ€™s contentious postseason matchup, the Dodgers are right where they need to be.
With a record of 26 wins and 24 losses, the Dodgers have finished their first 50 games with a winning percentage of .520. Here are a few sights to look forward to over the coming months:
The continued emergence of Chase Utley:
The man is 37, but heâ€™s plays like he did when he took his Phillies to two consecutive World Series in the late-2000s.
Through Sunday, Utley has amassed four homers, 19 RBIs and an incredible .386 on-base percentage, per Baseball Reference.
But incredible stats arenâ€™t the only things he provides. A World Series veteran, Utley can hopefully share his wisdom with younger Dodgers as the approach the postseason.
And he has the ability to quiet the mightiest of Dodger foes.
A stronger, faster, better starting rotation:
Perhaps the Dodgersâ€™ greatest weakness has been its inconsistent starting rotation. Clayton Kershaw has been phenomenal, posting a 7-1 record with an eye-raising 19-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ration heading into Sunday nightâ€™s match-up.
The other semi-decent starters have been Kenta Maeda, Alex Wood and Scott Kazmir, with the ever-changing fifth-man remaining up in the air.
The return of Brandon McCarthy, Hyun-jin Ryu and Brett Anderson will give the team a starting pitcher surplus, something that hasnâ€™t happened in recent memory.
Tightening up the five-man rotation could give the Dodgers an advantage of the Giants, who have seen starters Jake Peavy and Matt Cain struggle in the seasonâ€™s first two months.
The continued success of Joc Pederson, Corey Seager and Trayce Thompson has given the Dodger faithful hope for the future.
Heading into Sundayâ€™s game, the trio have combined for 23 homers and 63 RBIs, per Baseball Reference. The young Seager looks to be a slam-dunk for National League Rookie of the Year.
Thompson has done so well that he continues to get starts in the outfield, even if it means displacing Yasiel Puig or Carl Crawford.
If the trio can stay healthy throughout the season, look for them to bolster the teamâ€™s often-sagging post-season offense.
Getting the rookie-veteran mix can be tough, but it looks like the Dodgers are on the right track.