While the Houston Astros (27-17) are back near the top of the American League after winning last year’s championship, their 2017 World Series opponent isn’t having nearly the same kind of success. The Los Angeles Dodgers (16-25) are well below .500 and struggling to stay out of last place in the NL West.

It’s still technically early in the 2018 MLB season, though L.A. could be putting themselves in a hole from which they won’t be able to escape. With more than a quarter of the year in the books, the Dodgers are just a half-game ahead of the last-place San Diego Padres.

The Dodgers were baseball’s most dominant team before losing to the Astros in a seven-game World Series. They led the majors with 104 regular-season wins and only suffered one loss in the NLDS and NLCS combined.

Los Angeles hasn’t had a losing record since 2010. They’ve won the NL West in five straight seasons, winning more than 90 games each year.

After sweeping the Arizona Diamondbacks (25-17) in last year’s division series, the Dodgers now trail their rivals by 8.5 games for first place. Arizona is already 8-4 against L.A. this season. The Colorado Rockies (23-20), who lost to Arizona in the 2017 NL Wild-Card Game, have proven to be the Diamondbacks’ biggest competition, thus far.

Cody Bellinger Dodgers Diamondbacks Cody Bellinger #35 of the Los Angeles Dodgers doubles in front of John Ryan Murphy #36 of the Arizona Diamondbacks to score Alex Verdugo #61, to trail 5-4 during the fifth inning at Dodger Stadium on May 8, 2018 in Los Angeles. Photo: Harry How/Getty Images

Arizona doesn’t have the National League’s best record, even though they’ve only lost one series all season long. The Atlanta Braves (25-16) hold the distinction as being the NL's top team after four years of finishing well below .500.

Atlanta’s youth movement has helped give them a slight lead atop a competitive NL East. Second baseman Ozzie Albies is tied for the MLB-lead with 13 home runs at just 21 years old, and 24-year-old starting pitcher Sean Newcomb is among the leaders with a 2.51 ERA. Veterans Nick Markakis and Freddie Freeman both have an OPS well over .900.

MLB’s most surprising team in 2018 has either been Atlanta or the Pittsburgh Pirates (24-17). After trading away two of their best players in the offseason, Pittsburgh sits in first place in the NL Central. Only one game separates the top four teams in the division, including the favored Chicago Cubs (22-17), who are in fourth place.

The Astros and Cleveland Indians (20-21) are the only 2017 division winners that are currently in first place. Neither team has more than a one-game lead.

The New York Yankees (28-12) have MLB's best record.