Some members of TBLA, along with Dodger fans everywhere, are in a state of full panic over the struggles the team has gone though lately. With a 6.5 game lead with 7 to go, only a choke of epic proportions would've lost us the division. Yet here we are, only 2 losses away from being stuck with the wild card and the #4 seed in what's looking like the toughest NL postseason in some time. Which brings up my point: Would we be better served for the playoffs if we lost these games?
Here's my reasoning. If we do end up winning a game, and the division, we most likely get St. Louis (with home field). If we fall to the wild card, we get Philly (without home field). To me, the Phillies match-up sounds much more appealing. The Phillies are the worst home team in the league of all playoff teams, and the best road team overall. They have a lefty-filled lineup, and our pitching staff's 1-2 punch are both lefties - both of whom are death to left handed hitters. Not to mention the bullpen trio of Kuo, Sherrill, and Brox, all of whom have better stats against lefties.
Meanwhile, as much pub as the Phillies have gotten over the Cliff Lee
signing trade, the Cardinals rotation (and bullpen) are much better. We all know what the Cards pitching can do. Carpenter, Wainright, Piniero and co. have been dominant in the 2nd half especially, and the bullpen (with the exception of last night) has been lights out. Meanwhile, to say that the Phillies pen is a mess would be an understatement. They have no closer, their setup man is trying to close and failing, and the rest of the pen is mediocre at best. The only major problem with facing the Phillies is that Ethier would be going against lefties in games 1 and 2 on the road. Ouch.
After the NLDS (assuming we win) is where this theory gets dicey. Obviously we don't want to play the Cardinals in St. Louis 4 times. But check out the Colorado-St. Louis season series. Colorado leads 6-1, including a 4 game sweep in St. Louis in June. Sure, the Cards are playing a lot better now. But that thought of the sweep will still be there. It's a different Cardinal team, but the Rox should still have all the confidence in the world that they can beat them.
So if that does happen and we get the Rockies in the NLCS, we all know our record against them. Even if we do get swept here, we'll take the season series 12-6 - including 7-2 at Coors. To me, the Rockies don't have an advantage at home against us, because the huge park plays into the hands of our gap power. I think we would easily take the Rockies in a playoff series (provided we start playing better, obviously)
So there you have it. It's a bit hopeful, as the Rockies will definitely be the underdog against St. Louis. But to be honest, I don't want to play the Cards, and I think the Rockies have the best chance to beat them. Meanwhile, I think we'd be favored over Philly even on the road (maybe not in Vegas, but I personally think we'd win), along with against Colorado. Every team wants to win the division, and no one wants to be remembered for such a huge choke. But instead of panicking, Dodger fans, think about it: Do we help our world series hopes by losing these games?