This is starting to get a little comical. Nine times the Dodgers had a chance to win the National League West, with either a win or a Rockies loss. Nine times they have been denied. Tonight becomes divisional match point number 10, and it just happens to be True Blue LA night at Dodger Stadium!
The Dodgers' playoff situation is pretty simple:
- Win one of the next two games, and they are the top seed in the NL playoffs, with home field advantage during the first two rounds.
- Lose both games, and the Dodgers are the number four seed, likely traveling to Philadelphia to start the NLDS
The Cardinals can no longer get the top seed. They can only max out at 93 wins, and the winner of the NL West will have at least 94 wins. Any win by the Phillies or loss by the Cardinals locks the Cardinals in as the number three seed, meaning they will play the winner of the NL West in the NLDS.
If the Phillies win one of their two remaining games, they are guaranteed at least the number two seed, by virtue of having the tiebreaker over the Cardinals, and would play the wild card winner in the NLDS.
If the Rockies win both games, they will win the West, and are guaranteed at least the number two seed. If the Rockies end up tying Philadelphia at 94 wins (Phillies would also have to win their final two), the Phillies would get the top seed by virture of winning the head-to-head tiebreaker with the Rockies. If the Rockies lose a game, they are the wild card, and the number four seed.
As bad as the Dodgers are playing, they still just need one win. One win will fix everything. it really is that simple.
The Dodgers' fate rests in the hands of young Clayton Kershaw. It seems like a tall task for a 21-year old who hasn't pitched past four innings in a game for over four weeks, but if anyone is up to it, it's Kershaw. Kershaw will be the game two starter in the NLDS, so what better way to prepare for the playoffs than winning the division clincher?
The Rockies counter with Jorge de la Rosa, an under-the-radar 16-game winner this season. It's easy to discount his 4.45 ERA or his 0-5 record and 7.12 ERA against the Dodgers in his career, but like Ubaldo Jimenez, it's important for the Dodgers to not overlook de la Rosa. On the road, de la Rosa is 6-3 with a 3.45 ERA and a 3.93 FIP. Actually, his overall FIP is just 3.98, so he has enjoyed a nice season.
More importantly, tonight is True Blue LA night at the stadium! It is our second trip this season. We showed up 20 strong in San Diego on July 3 for the return of Manny Ramirezhere, and tonight we increase our throng from one Hall of Famer (Sutton) to another (Koufax), as 32 seats in the reserved level, section 44, rows K through N, will be filled by True Blue LA faithful.
We will plan to meet at the seats before the game. We have a few fun things in store, including some prizes to give away. A fun time shall be had by all, especially if the Dodgers are able to clinch the division.
I have seen the Dodgers clinch twice in person:
- September 30, 1995: a win in San Diego on the penultimate day of the season behind Hideo Nomo gave the Dodgers the NL West crown
- September 30, 2006: a win in San Francisco, also on the next-to-last day of the year, gave the Dodgers a playoff spot (the division was still in play, but they ended up as the wild card) behind Greg Maddux
I lived in San Diego for about 14 years up until I moved earlier this season, but if I didn't move maybe I could have been there in person for another road September 30th clinch on Wednesday. That didn't happen, so I'll have to settle for clinching the division at home in the company of friends and family.
The Dodgers before the game will honor Juan Pierre for winning the organization's Roy Campanella Award for being the Dodger who "best exemplifies the spirit and leadership of the late Hall of Fame catcher." In addition, the Dodgers will honor their minor league player of the year (Dee Gordon), and pitcher of the year (Scott Elbert). To help mimic a game situation for Elbert, the Dodgers can have a person stand in the left-handed batter's box as Elbert receives the award, then have Elbert come off the mound after an all too brief ceremony.
Kathy Ireland will throw out a ceremonial first pitch, an interesting choice on a night featuring Star Wars fans and blogger fans. Remember folks: no Lightsabers will be allowed into Dodger Stadium.
Game Time: 7:10pm
TV: Prime Ticket, MLB Network