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