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The best thing the Dodgers have going for them is playing in a lousy division, in an unimpressive league

June 14, 2010 |  7:11 am

I’ve come up with an indisputable reason why the Dodgers actually have a chance to return to the playoffs for a third consecutive year:

They play in the National League West.

Or maybe I should just say, they play in the National League.

The Dodgers have been relatively unimpressive this season. Hit well in April, pitched well in May.

But they don’t do anything exceptionally well, at least not consistently. At least not so far.

Yet here they are, one game back of the Padres in the NL West. This is where I should point out the Padres have the best record in the National League.

Does anything else really have to be said about the overall strength of the National League that the mediocre Padres are currently its best team?

The Phillies had been the league’s top team the last two years, but have inexplicably come back to the pack. Right now there not only isn’t one great team in the National League, there isn’t even one that’s close.

Now this could all change as teams get healthy (Rockies?) or new stars emerge (Mike Stanton?) or key trades are made (Cliff Lee?) or young teams simply mature, but right now it’s hard to be particularly impressed by any team in the National League.

Is there one NL team right now that’s better than any of the top three teams in the American League East -- Tampa Bay, New York or Boston?

The Dodgers only have to beat the overachieving Padres, hold off the offensively challenged Giants and hope the Rockies never really get healthy and rolling, and they’re back in the playoffs.

How good do they really need to be for that?

-- Steve Dilbeck