LOS ANGELES - The Los Angeles Dodgers have been socked with injuries to significant players since the season began, including Eric Gagne, Normar Garciaparra and Kenny Lofton.
They've been forced to use rookies at several positions, and a journeyman pitcher was called up from the minors to join the rotation.
That sounds like another recipe for disaster, just like last year. And it was, to some degree, when the Dodgers lost 17 of their first 29 games. But suddenly, they turned it around three weeks ago, and after a homestand to remember, they're the hottest team in baseball.
"I've been on some teams that have gotten on rolls - this is fun," pitcher Brett Tomko said after the Dodgers beat Colorado 7-1 Wednesday night to sweep a six-game homestand for the first time in more than 12 years. "You ride a wave, hope you ride it as long as you can."
The Dodgers have won a season-high seven in a row, outscoring the opposition 55-12. Fifteen wins in their past 18 have boosted Los Angeles a season-high seven games over .500 and within a half-game of first-place Arizona in the NL West.
Idle Thursday, the Dodgers begin a six-game road trip tonight in Washington with momentum and confidence.
"We're playing good baseball right now and getting good results," first-year manager Grady Little said. "Every time we come to the park, we are expecting to win the ballgame."
After going 71-91 last season, the Dodgers cleaned house, with Ned Colletti replacing Paul DePodesta as general manager and Little succeeding Jim Tracy as manager.