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The road to October will be hard for the Dodgers, but not out of reach

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Arizona Diamondbacks v Los Angeles Dodgers Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

It goes without saying that every game is critical at this stage of the season for the Dodgers. They not only trail in both their division and the wild card, they have teams they need to leapfrog to have an opportunity to catch the teams in position to make the postseason.

The next 20 days will be crucial if the Dodgers want to make October games a reality. Los Angeles plays 11 of the next 18 against four teams that have combined to go 219-295 (.426) in 2018. The Dodgers are 36-36 against teams with records below .500 and those are the games that have to be won.

In town this weekend for three, the Padres come in having lost 42 of the last 58. A short trip to Texas will see a Rangers team the Dodgers swept in two games back in mid-June. Texas has hovered around .500 over the last 60 games and won 15 of the last 25. As bad as the Mets have been, they’ve won 10 of the last 16 and they’ll likely pitch Jacob deGrom in one of the games at Dodger Stadium.

The Division

The other seven of the 18 come against the Diamondbacks (four at home) and Rockies (three on the road). If they don’t win a bulk of these games, call it a season. They’ve lost eight of 12 to Arizona and five of the last seven to Colorado.

MLB.com

This is the time to bust loose of the negativity and steer themselves back on course.

It’s not as if they haven’t had chances, they just haven’t been able to take advantage with timely or “clutch” hits, as Jeff Sullivan from Fangraphs wrote Friday morning.

In total, thirteen games remain for the Dodgers against Arizona and Colorado. That’s plenty to make up the difference that separates the three clubs. Not to mention the six games the Dbacks and Rockies play against each other. Somebody has to lose those games.

Remaining Schedules

Dodgers (Home) Dodgers (Away) Diamondbacks (Home) Diamondbacks (Away) Rockies (Home) Rockies (Away)
Dodgers (Home) Dodgers (Away) Diamondbacks (Home) Diamondbacks (Away) Rockies (Home) Rockies (Away)
16 18 18 17 20 15
Padres (Aug 24-26, Sept 21-23) Rangers (Aug 28-29) Mariners (Aug 24-26) Giants (Aug 27-29) Cardinals (Aug 24-26) Angels (Aug 27-28)
Dbacks (Aug 30-Sept 2) Rockies (Sept 7-9) Padres (Sept 3-4) Dodgers (Aug 30-Sept 2) Giants (Sept 3-5) Padres (Aug 30-Sept 2)
Mets (Sept 3-5) Reds (Sept 10-12) Braves (Sept 6-9) Rockies (Sept 10-13) Dodgers (Sept 7-9) Giants (Sept 14-16)
Rockies (17-19) Cardinals (Sept 13-16) Cubs (Sept 17-19) Astros (Sept 14-16) Diamondbacks (Sept 10-13) Dodgers (Sept 17-19)
Dbacks (Sept 24-26) Rockies (Sept 21-23) Padres (Sept 28-30) Phillies (Sept 24-27) Diamondbacks (Sept 21-23)
Giants (Sept 28-30) Dodgers (Sept 24-26) Nationals (Sept 28-30)

Wild Card

Even if the Dodgers are closer in the standings to a wild card berth then the division, it still seems a bit easier to catch the teams ahead of them in the NL West. If the Dodgers hop two teams in the division, they lead the division. If they pass two teams in the wild card, they’re still on the outside looking in.

Including the Dodgers, there are five teams battling for the two spots. Seems like an awful lot would have to go the Dodgers way. And should they end up in one of those spots, tied with another team, the tie-breaking procedures could go against the Dodgers because the first one is head-to-head play.

MLB.com

That would mean if they got to a wild card spot, the chances of hosting it are slim.

On the season series, the Phillies took four of seven and the Cardinals stand to hold the edge unless the Dodgers sweep a four-game series in St. Louis three weeks from now — which would be helpful. Though, there could be a scenario where the Dodgers hold the tie-breakers on several if things break right.

If the Phillies were to catch Atlanta to take the lead in the NL East, the Dodgers beat the Braves five of seven times this year. They’ve also beat the Brewers four of seven and for the moment hold a 7-6 edge over the Rockies.

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The Dodgers have put themselves in a tough position, that is without question. It seems impossible to think a team this talented has come to this, but they can still make the playoffs.