Los Angeles Dodgers infielder Nick Punto grabbed the hanger. He stuffed the shirts onto a nearby chair and moved the rest of the gear in the locker around. A few minutes later reliever J.P. Howell walked over and began to put his clothes up.

Out popped Skip Schumaker who was crouched behind the uniform gear like a ninja. Howell's reaction left teammates howling.

Perhaps the only thing more startling than the prank are the Dodgers themselves. They were staggering through the National League West with an oxygen tank on June 21 pegged as the worst team money could buy with a 30-42 record. Since they have been a blue steamroller positioned as the heavy favorites to reach the World Series rallying past the Rockies 10-8 at Coors Field on Monday.
How does a team go from 9½ games back to 12½ ahead in the division their largest lead since Sept. 14 1977?

"We knew we were a really good team at the beginning of the season but we were struggling with a few guys down with injuries" slugger Adrian Gonzalez said. "I would say right around July we were full go started winning and that's when we knew we could make a run at the division."

The 2007 Rockies got hot winning 21-of-22 games to reach the World Series. The Dodgers have been a blowtorch for three months winning 52 of their last 65 games.

"They are the most talented team I have played against in this division in my career" Rockies first baseman Todd Helton said recently.