“The Dodgers never do anything easy. They don’t win easy -- and they don’t lose easy.”
Spoken from the mouth of Vin Scully on several occasions, those words represent so much of this week and what may be coming over the weekend.
The history between the Dodgers and Giants — with special attention to the spoiling of playoff hopes — has been laid out over and over through the years. From Bill Terry to Bobby Thomson to the Dodgers keeping a 103-win Giants out in 1993 to Steve Finley’s grand slam and so much more, there have been many moments of heartache for one side thanks to the other.
The Dodgers are hoping that this three-game series in San Francisco isn’t another instance of one team knocking the other team out of playoff contention. And don’t think for a second that the Giants won’t be trying to do just that.
San Francisco manipulated their starting rotation to give Madison Bumgarner a shot at being a fly in the ointment. The lefty is always angry but he hates the fact that the Dodgers could go to the playoffs again while the Giants will miss out for the third time in four years.
“I feel like we should be there, and could be there, and we’re not,” Bumgarner told San Francisco media this week. “I am going to do everything I can do to keep them from going only because I’m pitching.”
It doesn’t matter that the Giants have lost 13 of the 18 games in September and six of the last seven. All the pressure is on the Dodgers.
Lose one and the Dodgers can only hope to tie the Rockies realistically. Lose two, they can only hope the Cardinals have problems with the Cubs and lose their way out of postseason contention.
Imagine with me for a second, the Dodgers and Rockies tie for the division. It would be Rich Hill on the mound Monday against Colorado at Dodger Stadium to decide the division. Lose that game and Ross Stripling — and his combined 11 2⁄3 innings and nine earned runs over his last four starts — makes the start against either the Brewers or Cubs on the road in the wild card game.
It could be a whole lot worse than that though, provided they make the playoffs. If the Rockies, Dodgers and Cardinals all end up with the same record somehow — however unlikely that is — the Dodger rotation would be exposed.
A playoff game Monday at Dodger Stadium with the winner moving on to the NLDS against Atlanta, the loser going to St. Louis Tuesday for a one-game playoff for the second wild card. The winner of the St. Louis game heads to either Chicago or Milwaukee on Wednesday to play the actual wild card game, followed by the start of the NLDS on Thursday.
If the Dodgers get to that scenario, Hill would pitch Monday. Stripling goes Tuesday and if they win that, either Ryu Wednesday or Kershaw on short rest.
Is your head spinning yet?
Just playing the odds out for what’s most likely, it’s reasonable to believe the Rockies winning the division and the Dodgers playing the Brewers Tuesday in Milwaukee for the wild card has the highest percentage of actually happening.
As fun as the chaos sounds, it’s not for the faint of heart. Buckle up.