Win One To Clinch

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The Dodgers need to win just one of the four games in San Francisco in order to clinch the division.  I’d like to see them do it in a “one and done” situationThis first game featuring Zack Greinke will be a great time to clinch the division.  This second game featuring a pitchers’ duel between Clayton Kershaw and Madison Bumgarner will be a great time to clinch the division.

Playoff Bound

bluearrowWillie_Davis

Playoff Roster Guess

In two days’ time, the magic number has dropped from seven to three.  Clinching the division title should come soon.  The clinch will likely happen during this Rockies series in Colorado, or during the Giants series in San Francisco.  The next question will be, who will be on the roster for the playoffs?

Starting Pitchers – Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke, Brett Anderson, Alex Wood.  Wood has had experience in relief.  This additional flexibility may come in handy.

Bullpen – Kenley Jansen (closer), Chris Hatcher (set up man), Juan Nicasio (long relief).  These three seem to be certain.  Add a couple lefties, probably JP Howell and Luis Avilan.  Then the question becomes how many more and which ones?  I would go with Pedro Baez and Yimi Garcia, then stop there.  This leaves out Jim Johnson, Adam Liberatore, and everyone else.

Catchers – Yasmani Grandal and AJ Ellis.  Pretty straightforward, unless you add Austin Barnes, who could also be used elsewhere.  I would not, because there are other players better than Barnes.

Infield – Adrian Gonzalez, Howie Kendrick, Corey Seager, Justin Turner, Jimmy Rollins, and Chase Utley.  The only question in my mind is how often Corey Seager starts games.  Notice that I left out Alex Guerrero.  Also, Jose Peraza is left out, probably even if he is healthy.

Outfield – Andre Ethier, Joc Pederson, Carl Crawford, Scott Van Slyke, Justin Ruggiano, and Kike Hernandez (assuming he is healthy).  Left out are Yasiel Puig and Chris Heisey.  If healthy, Hernandez can be used in both the outfield and the infield.  He also plays a decent center field.

That’s eleven pitchers and fourteen position players.

September Swoon

SeptSwoon

Scenario:  Dodgers Drop the Division

How is this going to happen?  How is it not going to happen?  Within just days ago, many of the popular blogs and media basically ASSUMED that the regular season was over, and the Dodgers were already guaranteed a spot in the playoffs.

Many of those of us who frequently comment on this blog do not agree.  After last night’s fiasco, I for one believe the Dodgers will give away the division and will not go to the playoffs this year.  My belief has only been increased by the fact that Donald Zachary Greinke will not be pitching tonight.

Let’s play through this scenario.  How is it possible that the Dodgers blow their lead, which is currently six games over the Giants?  Well, just three games ago, the Dodgers had an eight and a half game lead.  Here is the scenario game by game.  You tell me how realistic it is.

Sept 23rd – Greinke scratched, either Wieland starts or it’s a bullpen game.  In either scenario, the bullpen gives up at least four runs and the Dodgers offense continues to be anemic.  We lose.  Peavy and the Giants beat Cashner and the Padres.  Magic Number is 7, while our lead drops to five games.  Panic time yet?

Sept 24th – Kershaw starts against Patrick Corbin, a lefty with a 2.99 ERA.  We all know how badly we perform against lefties.  This game almost has to feature Chris Heisey and Alex Guerrero.  After Guerrero’s mis-play of a pop-up last night, we all cringe whenever he is on the field.  But he’s not the only Dodger to make mental mistakes as of late.  With Kershaw starting, this game should be a toss-up, but let’s say we lose.  That’s not a nightmare.  It’s quite probable.  Meanwhile, Bumgarner gets an easy victory over the Padres.  Magic #7, Lead 4 games.  Panic!!!

Sept 25th – Dodgers travel to Coors Field, which has in the past been a place where Dodgers go to get injured.  Bolsinger pitches against David Hale (6.32 ERA).  Bolsinger keeps it in the park, somehow we have no injuries, and get the win.  Sonny Gray and the A’s beat Mike Leake and the Giants.  Magic #5, Lead 5 games.  All is right in the world.

Sept 26th – Brett Anderson against Kyle Kendrick (6+ ERA).  Anderson is getting weary late in the year, gets shelled early, gives the ball to the bullpen.  We lose.  Tim Hudson and the Giants beat Barry Zito (18.00 ERA – hey, he should be a Dodger!) and the A’s.  Magic #5, Lead 4 games.  Panic!!

Sept 27th – Alex Wood has a good game and beats the Rockies.  Chris Heston beats the A’s with a two-hitter.  Magic #4, Lead 4 games.  You all know what comes next.

Sept 28th – Dodgers travel to AT&T Park.  Greinke once again is unable to start against Peavy.  Dodgers lose.  Magic #4, Lead 3 games.

Sept 29th – Kershaw vs. Bumgarner – Mattingly trots out his all-righty lineup.  Bumgarner pulls through, he wants a fourth WS ring.  Magic #4, Lead 2 games

Sept 30th – Bolsinger vs. Leake – Bolsinger only goes through the lineup twice.  Then in comes the bullpen.  Dodgers lose.  Magic #4, Lead 1 game.  Panic!!

Oct 1st – Anderson vs. Hudson.  Anderson has run out of gas.  Dodgers lose.  Magic #4, Dodgers tied with Giants for first place.

Oct 2nd – Padres come to Dodger Stadium.  Wood vs. James Shields.  Shields uses his wily veteran-ness to prevail over Wood.  Chris Heston and the Giants beat Jon Gray (5.53 ERA, he’s no Sonny) and the Rockies.  Magic #4, Giants lead is one game.  Dodgers need everything to go right over the next two days to win the division outright.

Oct 3rd – Greinke starts, but falters due to rust.  Dodgers lose.  Peavy and the Giants beat the Rockies.  The Giants clinch the division title.  The Giants party, then begin preparation to meet the Mets in the playoffs.

Oct 4th – Kershaw scheduled to start, but it just doesn’t matter anymore.  Dodgers win, Giants lose, Giants win the division by one game.


Over the last twelve days, the Dodgers record is 3-9.  The Giants record is 10-2.  When you remove the head-to-head Dodgers-Giants four game series, the records are 3-5 for the Dodgers and 6-2 for the Giants.  That’s all it takes.  Actually, the Dodgers could go 4-4 while the Giants go 6-2 and the Dodgers could lose in a one game playoff to the Giants.

Is it unrealistic to believe that the Dodgers could drop all four games to the Giants, and go 4-4 (.500 ball!) during the other eight games?  I would say it is quite realistic.  In fact, I’ve just convinced myself that it will happen.  The injuries are not going away.  Jim Johnson is not suddenly going to go lights out in the late innings.  Brett Anderson is not going to get a stronger arm in the last two weeks.  Justin Turner is not going to have a healed knee and begin hitting again.  Yasmani Grandal’s shoulder is not going to be “all better” and he starts hitting like he did in June.  Jimmy Rollins is not going suddenly start hitting better than he has all year. Joc Pederson is not going to hit five home runs in twelve games.  Neither is Alex Guerrero.  Andre Ethier will not be starting against left-handed pitchers (although we can all hope).  Kike Hernandez is not going to save the Dodgers.  Clayton Kershaw cannot start all twelve games.  Kenley Jansen cannot pitch all the bullpen innings.  Corey Seager cannot be listed in the lineup nine times for every game.

We’re doomed!

[Editors’ note:  This is not sarcasm, this has been written from the heart.  A blue heart.]

Playoffs: Setting Up or Blowing Off?

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As the Dodgers get ready for a four game series with the Diamondbacks, we ask the question:  Is the team going to be more prepared for the playoffs than they were in 2014, or is 2015 just a repeat of 2014?  Last year, the team was beset with injuries, to the point where Skip Schumaker was playing center field in the playoffs.  Not good.  This year, Chris Heisey (who was Designated for Assignment, and left the team earlier this year) is back in the outfield during September.  Last year, Clayton Kershaw could not win games against the Cardinals, because the only trustworthy reliever in the bullpen was Kenley Jansen.  This year, the Dodgers have struggled all year to determine who else besides Kenley Jansen is trustworthy in the bullpen.

The Dodgers ran a nice 13-2 record from August 25th through September 8th, but are just 5-5 since then.  Will they be able to clinch the division before they travel to AT&T Park for a four game set with the Giants?  Or will we go into that Giant Series wondering whether the Dodgers will even be in the playoffs?  The recent lineups handed out by Don Mattingly leave me wondering about that.  Perhaps it is due to real injuries.  Perhaps he is resting vital players, getting them ready for the playoffs.  Perhaps he is giving valuable experience to the current best hitter on the team, Corey Seager.

Whatever Mattingly is doing, we are still left wondering who will answer the bell?  The bell tolling for leaders to take charge of winning now and in the playoffs.  Kershaw, Greinke, and Jansen will certainly answer the bell.  Andre Ethier will answer the bell, but only if he is given the opportunity.  Questions remain about most of the rest of them, including Rollins (phantom injury?), Gonzalez (anemic bat of late, injury?), Turner (no bat since injury), Pederson (the struggling rookie), Van Slyke(cyst), Hatcher, JP Howell, Baez, Garcia, etc, etc, etc.

“So Long Summer” – Dodgers and Pirates

 Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Pitching matchups are a big key as they are in all games and the Dodgers open up a three game series with Pittsburgh starting tonight. The Pirates will face the big two for the Dodgers in Greinke (today) and Kershaw (tomorrow), with Bolsinger (Sunday) as they attempt to maintain their two game hold on the NL Wild Cards top spot over the Cubs.

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The Dodgers who are in the midst of trying to wrap up a division crown, will first face two lefties in Jeff Locke and Francisco Liriano, before closing things up against the 16 game winner, righty, Garrit Cole.

These are the type of games where every little thing counts. It’s that time of year where you must limit your team’s mistakes, while aggressively elevating your style of play.

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This is where we show the world we’re Dodger Proud and Dodger Strong!!

Let’s Go Dodgers, Let’s Go!

Clap, Clap

Clap-Clap-Clap!