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Dodgers a Lock! Uh, No, They Were Not and Are Not

September 28th, 2018 · No Comments · Baseball, Dodgers

Too soon. It was way too soon.

After completing a three-game sweep of the Colorado Rockies eight days ago, outfielder Yasiel Puig predicted the Dodgers would win the National League West for a sixth consecutive season and a prominent Los Angeles columnist wrote: “It’s over” — that the Dodgers had their mojo back and would win the division.

Doesn’t everyone remember what Yogi Berra said? “It ain’t over till it’s over.” And it certainly was not over on September 20.

Call me superstitious, but I was struck by the bravado/foolishness of th Puig/journalist predictions, and seven games later the Dodgers’ “enormous” NL West lead of 2.5 games had dissolved under a seven-game Rockies win streak.

And now the Dodgers now may be scratching to get into the playoffs as a wild card.

A few factors Puig and some journalists ignored:

–The Rockies’ final 10 games were not exactly daunting. First, they swept three from the Diamondbacks, in Arizona, giving the Rocks a lift.

–The Rockies then went home for the final seven games of the regular season — to their Mile High Aerie, where visitors go to turn blue from a lack of oxygen and pitchers’ faces turn red from the distance the ball carriers there.

–The Rockies climbed back into first place two days ago after winning Game 3 of a four-game set with the Philadelphia Phillies, who provided no significant opposition as their September collapse picked up speed.

–Meanwhile, the Dodgers lost one of three at home to the Padres, then two of three to the “dead but not buried” Arizona Diamondbacks, in Phoenix.

–Over this decisive weekend, the Rockies have a huge scheduling advantage over the Dodgers. Colorado gets three, at home, against the Washington Nationals, who are playing with all the enthusiasm we might expect from a team eliminated from the playoffs some time ago and mostly are talking about whether these are the final games before Bryce Harper moves to another team next season.

Meanwhile, the Dodgers have three at San Francisco, with Madison Bumgarner throwing tonight, and the Giants love to ruin a Dodgers party — and have done so many times.

–To win the division, the Dodgers have to win at least twice — three times if the Rocks win even one against the Nationals. How do you size up that one, Yasiel? Still confident?

The Dodgers’ most likely route into the playoffs is to finish ahead of the St. Louis Cardinals and take the second NL wild card, as Colorado ends the five-season Dodgers title streak.

But the Cardinals are only one game behind the Dodgers, and if the Dodgers stumble badly at San Francisco …

Granted, the Cardinals have a battle on their hands, as they play three in Chicago against their arch-rivals, the Cubs, who lead the NL Central by a game over Milwaukee and have clinched at least a wild-card spot.

The Cubs can win the division by taking two from the Cardinals, which would be good news for the Dodgers, if their division dreams go up in flames, as now seems likely.

So, it’s semi-complicated, and it involves a lot of moving parts, but this Dodgers team has not been brilliant very often this season. And the most recent time that they looked good — a week ago — everyone came out of the woodwork to declare victory and tempt the baseball gods.

Meanwhile, in Denver, at least one journalist there has mocked the Dodgers for their premature celebrations.


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