With Matt Kemp leading the way, the Dodgers won a laugher 8 – 2 this afternoon in San Diego. Kemp was 4 for 5 with a home run and a double (his 20th of each on the season) good for four RBI, Nick Punto had three singles, and Adrian Gonzalez, Hanley Ramirez and Juan Rivera all chipped in with two hits apiece. Even Aaron Harang, who had a no-hitter until two outs in the fifth in this game, also doubled.
That means the Dodgers are four back in the 2nd wild card chase, awaiting the results from the Houston – St. Louis game. Houston was leading 2 – 0 going to the bottom of the sixth in Houston as the Dodgers finished up their win. If Houston hangs on the Dodgers are 3 1/2 games behind the Cards with seven games to play. The Cards have six to play after tonight, and they’ll be off tomorrow while the Dodgers play the rubber game of the series with the Padres.
I managed to see the ESPN clips on SportsCenter. That ninth inning was a perfect example of the Dodgers’ last half of the season — out of synch. If Ethier had hit the fly ball that Kemp did the game would probably have been tied and it would have gone to extra innings, but no. Andre struck out, his third strikeout of the game.
Here’s ESPN’s Game Report.
The team is 4 1/2 games back of the Cardinals with 8 games to play. I don’t want to throw in the towel, but it would take a small miracle for them to get past the Brewers and the Cards to make it into the 2nd wild card spot from here. It’s hard to believe this team was 17 games over .500 on June 18 and it’s now only 4 over.
As foul tip commented below, a 3 – 3 split with two division leaders tied with one another for the most wins in baseball (92) isn’t bad. Considering how poor the offense has been for three weeks, if we’re honest with ourselves we might admit we didn’t expect results even that good. Now if they can sweep the Padres before coming home to the beautiful setting of Dodger Stadium to play the Rockies and Giants, there might still be a little hope left. The Cardinals have three with the Astros starting today, and the Houston team is redefining the word hapless in its last season in the National League. But the Cards then have to play the Nats and the Reds to close out the season. The Dodgers could get a little help from those two teams.
Let’s be realistic here. The Dodgers are fighting for the 2nd wild card slot. Winning that buys you the chance to participate in a one-game playoff with the winner of the 1st wild card slot. The winner of that game goes on to play in the five-game NLDS, and from that point on the postseason is the same as it has been since the wild card was instituted in 1995. Unless the offense gets untracked over the next week, they won’t have even that slim opportunity.
Just for fun, from MLB:
If the postseason started today …
Wild Card: A’s at Orioles
Division Series: Yankees vs. White Sox | Rangers vs. Wild Card winner
Wild Card: Cardinals at Braves
Division Series: Reds vs. Giants | Nationals at Wild Card winner
• For the 2012 postseason, the team with the better record will play the first two games on the road to start the Division Series.
In the American League I’m rooting hard for the Orioles to overtake the Yankees in the AL East and the Tigers to catch the White Sox in the AL Central. While no Dodgers fan needs to explain why he’d like the Yankees to lose, I used to live in Washington DC when the Orioles were the better team of the two within rooting distance, and I’ve apparently got some residual memory of them. With the Tigers I’d like to see Verlander, Fister, Fielder and Miguel Cabrera in the postseason.
Alas, no joy from the Dodgers today, as the Reds’ Mat Latos shut them down for eight innings and Aroldis Chapman did the same in the ninth. I suppose they could claim a moral victory since Chapman didn’t strike a Dodger out, but that seems small consolation.
By winning the Reds clinch the NL Central, and the Dodgers fall to three games behind the Cardinals in the second wild card race.
For good measure, the Oregon State Beavers defeated the UCLA Bruins 27-20. UCLA will in all likelihood fall out of the Top 25 rankings.
The next two games I’m interested in today both begin at 4:30 pm HST. 22nd-ranked Arizona (an alma mater of mine) plays 3rd-ranked Oregon in Eugene and Nevada travels to Hawai’i to resume an old rivalry in a new conference (the Mountain West).