The Dodgers can’t afford to lose any more games in the regular season if they want to punch their ticket for the 2018 postseason. With six teams still alive for five spots, the field is narrowing as the schedule allows for just five more days.
With a half-game lead in the division and one game separating them from the outside looking in, the tension is all that much greater.
If the Rockies win out, they guarantee a tie with the Dodgers for the top spot in the NL West. If the Brewers win their final four games and the Cubs lose one of their remaining five, there is a tie atop the NL Central.
After two straight years in the NLCS, there are a few scenarios that could land the Dodgers and Cubs against one another in the one-game wild card.
I’m breathing into a paper bag as I write this.
The only saving grace for the Dodgers in the scenario above is the Cardinals schedule. The Redbirds finish up with Milwaukee Wednesday after losing the first two games, then head to Wrigley Field to play Chicago. The chances the Dodgers make the playoffs are still good, it’s winning the division that they want.
Unless something changes between now and the weekend, Rich Hill could start the wild card game, should Los Angeles be forced into it.
Standing in the Dodgers way Wednesday is old friend Zack Greinke and it’s looking like Madison Bumgarner will pitch in the series in San Francisco this weekend.
It’s upsetting to think the Giants could knock the Dodgers out of the playoffs altogether, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves.
Greinke — much like his team — hasn’t been overly effective recently. The right-hander had allowed two or less earned runs in 17 of his first 24 starts. Since August 13, Greinke has allowed 26 runs (24 earned) in his last eight, allowing at least four runs in three of those starts.
Against the Dodgers this season, the almost 35-year-old has given up seven runs in 13 ⅔ innings, going 1-1 in the two games.
Ross Stripling takes the ball for the Dodgers, having not made it out of the fourth inning in any of his three starts since coming back to the rotation. The right-hander has allowed six runs in 10 innings over that time.
The Dodgers have their work cut out for them and every game is going to have a must-win feel to it until the season is over.