While watching the fireworks light up the sky at Chavez Ravine it is a sad ending to a night I'd hoped to be a once in a lifetime event for me. This will probably be the only chance I would have had to witness a post season celebration but the Dodgers were unable to provide their own fireworks so they will have another go at it tomorrow with the TrueBlue crew in the house to cheer them on.
If the Dodger were powered by wind their power would be in surplus after Manny and Blake swung through enough pitches to power the lights until Christmas. For the sixth time in his career Manny struck out four times, leaving six runners on base, killing rally after rally. With each at bat the crowd would rise and greet him with cheers only to boo him as they sat down after each strikeout. By the last strikeout the boos were as loud as Manny may have ever heard in his career when playing in front of a home crowd. Wasn't it only 12 months ago that Manny could do no wrong?
Casey Blake was none the better but all of his four whiffs came with no one on base courtesy of Manny, Kemp, and Loney going 0/12. In fact the four of them combined to go 0/16 and left 11 base runners twiddling their thumbs. Six for Manny and five for Kemp. A massive failure on the part of the heart of the order.
Manny and Blake were the first Dodgers to both strike out four times in a game since Mark Grudzielanek and Angel Pena did it way back on July 25th, 1999.
Randy Wolf once again did his job, giving up all his runs as usual in one inning and then shutting down the Rockies until he was lifted after only five innings. Troncoso pitched a scoreless sixth but the 7th is when the real damage was done. Elbert came in to get Todd Helton and failed as Helton went against the shift hitting a double down the right field line. Elbert was removed for Belisario who tried to throw a high fastball past MVP candidate Tulowitzki and he drove it deep into the left field pavilion giving the Rockies a formidable 4 - 1 lead.
Given the Dodger offense that appeared to be a Mount Whitney lead but they started to climb that mountain when Russell Martin slugged a rare home run into the right field bleachers cutting the lead from 4 - 1 to 4 - 2. They quickly followed with another run on a bloop single by Andre to cut the lead to one run. Manny stepped up and for the fourth time struck out and for all intents and purposes that was the ball game.
The Dodgers needed just one win or one loss by the Rockies to clinch the Western Division starting last Sunday, and as we approach the True Blue game tomorrow they still need that one win or loss by the Rockies.
Small solace that the Cardinals and Phillies also lost putting the Dodgers home field advantage at one game. So with one win the Dodgers can win the Division and home field advantage.
Can they do it? Tomorrow will be the best chance with Clayton Kershaw going for the Dodgers. Can Manny bounce back after a miserable week which has seen him go 0/10 with 8 strikeouts including his last six time at bat.
Wolf has now thrown a career high 214 innings surpassing the 210 inning he threw seven years ago in 2002. Quite an accomplishment for the man who will be taking the mound in our first playoff game no matter who we face or when.
The five game losing streak is the longest of the year for the Dodgers and for the 3rd time they struck out 13 times. Not the greatest time to have your longest losing streak but just one win will change the smell coming from the team right now. It is strange to know that you could lose out and still be playing in the postseason. I wonder who was the last team to lose their last seven games and still make the playoffs?
Joe Torre on Manny:
It's definitely a concern. He just doesn't look comfortable up there, we obviously need him, we keep supporting him and keep expecting him to do good things and that day will come for us. He's been down this road before; slumps are part of the game. The only thing I can do is write his in there, pat him on the back and expect better things to happen.
Manny had this to say:
My confidence is always up. I'm one of best hitters. All you have to do is check my police reportand see that I'm still a good hitter.
Baseball is like that. The only thing we know in life is that we die.
We don't think about the championship. We're thinking about tomorrow and De La Rosa
I don't control the (the boos)