Sep 24

Last off-day of the year

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 …

AMERICAN LEAGUE
Wild Card: A’s at Orioles
Division Series: Yankees vs. White Sox | Rangers vs. Wild Card winner

NATIONAL LEAGUE
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.

Sep 24

Site news

I don’t know how many of you folks used the links in the sidebars at Dodger Thoughts. I confess I didn’t use very many of them very often. However, some of you may have been relying on Jon’s site to navigate through to other Dodger or general baseball sites, so I added them to the sidebar here. I cut some which haven’t been updated in six months or more, so if your favorite is gone, that’s why.

I left off the entire section Jon had called “Elsewhere in the world,” (see here), but if you’d like those added, just say so in the comments.

I also tried to click the little button in setup which says “open new window when this link is clicked” for all of those links, but I may have missed one. If you click a link and it opens in the same window as Elysian Fields, please leave me a comment telling me which link did that.

Thanks.

Sep 23

Game Thread 9/23/12

Gratuitous Giants video, only because a) it’s a helluva play and b) Kung-Fu Panda is actually blowing a bubble when he takes off after this foul ball!

When ESPN scheduled this game for its final Sunday Night Baseball game of the season, I’m sure it thought it would have a bearing on at least one if not two division titles. As the season went along, I imagine they felt pretty good about it until the All-Star break, when the Dodgers’ injuries were starting to mount up. After the past month of Dodger futility, by now the guys in charge of baseball programming in Bristol are all saying “Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition!”

Lineups aren’t out yet, but Ken Gurnick reports at Dodgers.com that Kershaw has been cleared to pitch tonight.

If it were me managing, I’d say “Clayton, you’ve had a very good year, but the likelihood of us going into the playoffs isn’t going to be increased if you pitch anymore this season. Unless we start to hit, there’s no reason to risk you hurting yourself permanently. Sit down and rest that hip.”

Lineup:

Ellis, M, 2B
Ethier, A, RF
Kemp, M, CF
Gonzalez, A, 1B
Ramirez, H, SS
Cruz, L, 3B
Herrera, E, LF
Ellis, A, C
Kershaw, C, P

Gameday

Sep 22

Bad day for LA

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).

Sep 22

Dodgers Game Thread 9/22/12

The Dodgers’ win last night kept the Reds from clinching the NL Central, but the successor to the Big Red Machine gets another chance today. Any combination of a Reds win or a Cardinals loss gives the Queen City its second division title in three years after fifteen years without one.

Young Mr. Fife takes his 2.49 ERA up against the likes of Votto and Phillips as well as two Old Friends today: Messrs. Paul and Navarro are in the lineup for the Reds. The game is on Big Fox TV.

Lineup:

Ellis, M, 2B
Ethier, A, RF
Kemp, M, CF
Gonzalez, A, 1B
Ramirez, H, SS
Cruz, L, 3B
Rivera, J, LF
Ellis, A, C
Fife, S, P

Gameday

If you need something to divert you before the Dodgers game, it’s OSU at UCLA at the Rose Bowl this afternoon.