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As Laid Back As The Guys Who Make Pringles

Last nights loss was about as bad is things could get. There was bad pitching from Brad Penny, a lack of offense to the tune of eight men reaching base, and even some bad managing by Grady Little, leaving Brad Penny out there for 120 pitches on a night where he didn't have his best stuff. Combine this with the fielding adventures that would have allowed Jose Reyes to start another trip around the bases if he were so inclined, and you have yourself the second disastrous game for the Dodgers in the last three days.

Even though the Padres only a half game back with the Dodgers playing horribly, I really don't feel any urgency. At this point in the year, I see the Padres as nothing but a safety net. Sure, winning the West would be nice, but it's not necessary. In my mind, the Phillies and the Marlins are the Dodgers chief rivals at this point, and things are looking mighty good in that department. The Dodgers have a three game lead over Philadelphia, a team missing its left fielder, centerfielder, a shaky pitching staff, and a third baseman that might OPS less than .500. On the other hand, they have Ryan Howard, so we'll call it a draw.

Even better for the Dodgers is that through some bizarre scheduling, the Phillies and Marlins have nine games against each other. If they manage to beat up on each other, the Dodgers can keep trucking right along playing .500 ball, and be no worse for the wear. Even if one team manages to dominate the other, it's one less competitor to worry about, a win-win all the way.

On the Dodgers side, after this series with New York, they face Chicago, Pittsburgh, and each of the divisional rivals one more time. Aside from the series against the Padres, the best team the Dodgers face is the 70-70 Giants, while this does make them something of a powerhouse in the NL. Even if the Dodgers play terribly in New York, they can quickly rebound with six games against the worst teams in the NL.

Now, if the Dodgers get swept and then play badly in Chicago it's time to get nervous. Until then, let's hope for a hard fought and evenly matched series in Florida, if the Dodgers win, that's great too.