Dodgers: Hey! Look at me! I’m an NL West Division winner four times in a row! Aren’t I great? Aren’t you happy? We’re all happy in here! Woo hoo! Home field advantage? What’s that? I thought that’s what the All-Star Game is for? Why you cry? Why the sad face?
Dodger fans: It’s been 28 long damn years since you won a championship. Get over yourself. Win, damn it! Win the NLDS! Win the NLCS! Win the World Series! Don’t come home without those championship rings!
Hmmm. What other NL team won a lot of division titles, but had a hard time getting a World Series Championship? Wasn’t too long ago, let’s see? Oh yeah, the Atlanta Braves won 14 division titles in 15 years (1991-2005), but only won one World Series Championship (1995). I wonder who was running that club? Oh, geez! Stan Kasten was the president of the Atlanta Braves from 1986 to 2003. What have we here? Freaking Stan Kasten, the president of the Los Angeles Dodgers beginning on April 30, 2012. He has proceeded to lead the Dodgers to four straight NL West division titles from 2013 through 2016. Stan says: “World Series? What’s that?”
Did the Dodgers give up on the concept of winning home field advantage in the NLDS against the Washington Nationals? Yesterday, they were only one game behind the Nationals. Then the Nationals won a game. Then the Dodgers used tons of substitutes and did not play well. Today the Dodgers are two games behind the Nationals. Tonight we will likely find out whether the Dodgers really want the home field advantage, or do they really want to rest the regulars to make sure they are fully ready for the NLDS.
The Dodgers have won the NL West Division. The celebration happened on Sunday, and now it is over. We’ve got work to do.
It’s time to get ready for the playoffs. What does that entail? First, get home field advantage in the playoffs if at all possible. The Dodgers are only one game behind their likely NLDS opponent Washington Nationals, so it makes sense to try to get that advantage. Secondly, get the starting pitching rotation in order, so that Kershaw will be #1, Hill #2, and Maeda #3. Third, give those players and pitchers likely to be on the playoff roster both the rest and play repetition necessary so that they are as prepared as possible to be their best during the playoffs.
The Dbacks are playing the Nats on this off-day for our boys. It’s a fairly significant contest as it evens the up the number of games played by Washington and the Dodgers. With 7 left to play, being down 1 vs 2 games is huge.
Go Arizona! Go!!
Vin Scully’s last weekend at Dodger Stadium. Clayton Kershaw on the mound. The Giants game (5:40 pm) starts a half hour ahead of the Dodgers game (6:10 pm). So should the Giants lose first, the Dodgers can clinch with a win tonight. The script is set.
Vin Scully has had a hell of a run. Who else can say they worked the same job for sixty-seven years? Who else has given this kind of joy to millions of people? So many better writers have told the tale of Vin, I don’t know that I can do a better job. I’ll just summarize some of Vin’s attributes that we have come to enjoy for many decades: (1) his smooth baritone voice, (2) his story telling, (3) his impartiality, (4) his teaching fans the finer points of baseball, (5) his researching players from other teams and telling us about them, (6) his consistent excellence in play-by-play announcing [in contract to Charlie Steiner among others], (7) his reaching into our family rooms to be part of our families while we watch the game, and (8) his humility. Vin Scully never ever irritated nor annoyed me. I’ve enjoyed every minute that I listened to him.
Meanwhile, we’ve got some baseball to play this weekend (accompanied by Vin Scully). Scott Kazmir (10-6, 4.59 ERA) will pitch against Rockie righty Jon Gray (10-8, 4.42 ERA). Gray last pitched against the Dodgers on August 29th in Denver, and he pitched six shutout innings giving up four hits and three walks while striking out eight Dodgers. The Rockies won that game by a score of 8-1.
What are the chances that the Dodgers clinch the NL West this weekend? About 1 in 3. What are the chances that the Dodgers clinch before playing the Giants again? About 93%. For those interested, the math follows.
To make the math a little easier, let’s assume that the Dodgers have a 50% chance of winning each game, the Giants have a 50% chance of winning each game, and each game is independent of the others. So each game is equivalent to a coin flip. To clinch this weekend, we need a total of four Dodger wins or Giants losses. There are six games. Essentially, we have six coin flips and need heads at least four times (that is four times or five times or six times). The chances of clinching this weekend is [6!/(6!x0!)+6!/(5!x1!)+6!/(4!x2!)]/(2^6) = 34.38%.
Similarly, there are six Dodger games and six Giant games before the Dodgers play the Giants again, for a total of twelve games. We need a total of four Dodger wins and Giants losses to clinch. So the probability of clinching before next Friday is [12!/(12!x0!)+12!/(11!x1!)+12!/(10!x2!)+12!(9!x3!)+12!/(8!x4!)+12!/(7!x5!)+12!/(6!x6!)