With 15 Games Left...

What is in store for the Dodgers over their final 15 games?

The Dodgers have a busy day ahead of them on Wednesday, with a doubleheader on the docket against the Nationals. Thanks to the Cardinals' win on Tuesday, the Dodgers now trail St. Louis by 1½ games with 15 games remaining (the Cardinals have 14 left).

In the wild card era, the Dodgers have found themselves in a similar position four times with 15 games left in the season.

1995: Dodgers 68-61, 1 GB of Rockies for NL West

This situation isn't exactly analogous, as the Dodgers also led the Astros by two games for the wild card, but it's close enough. The Dodgers went 10-5 down the stretch to capture the division, beating the wild card Rockies by one game.

1997: Dodgers 81-66, 1 GB of Giants for NL West

Within a few days the Dodgers actually found themselves two games up on the Giants, heading into a two-game series in San Francisco. But the Dodgers lost a pair of one-run games, the latter courtesy of a walk-off home run by catcher Brian Johnson. The Dodgers finished 7-8 down the stretch and finished two games behind the Giants.

2002: Dodgers 83-64, 1 GB of Giants for NL wild card

The Dodgers and Giants were both looking up at the Diamondbacks in the division. Los Angeles actually had a strong finish to the season, going 9-6 down the stretch. But San Francisco went 11-3, including winning their final eight games of the year.

2007: Dodgers 78-69, 1½ GB of Padres for NL wild card

The Dodgers finished 82-80 five years ago, but with 15 games left they were very much in the thick of it. It was a simpler time then, when James Loney hit .331/.381/.538 and in just 96 games hit 15 home runs, a mark that still stands as his career high. The Dodgers went just 4-11 down the stretch, including seven losses against the hard-charging Rockies. Colorado put on one of the greatest finishing runs in history to pass both the Dodgers and Padres, winning 14 of their final 15 regular season games, then won seven straight playoff games to get into the World Series.

So that's four times the Dodgers have trailed by a game or a game and a half with 15 games left, and the only time they made the postseason was when they already had a fallback position in place, in 1995. Seventeen years later, there is no fallback for the Dodgers. Only 15 opportunities, including two on Wednesday.

Game 1 Pitching Matchup: Aaron Harang vs. Jordan Zimmermann

Game 1 Time: 1:05 p.m.

TV: KCAL

MLB Gameday

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