The good news is that the Dodgers still control their postseason destiny, at least in terms of a Wild Card appearance. And the other-semi-good news is that the Rockies are hosting a Nationals club this weekend who have won three straight games, unlike another NL East club who laid down for four straight this week in Denver. But the bad news is the Dodgers could find themselves in a one-game playoff at the beginning of next week or even staying home altogether should they not take care of business this weekend in San Francisco.
If it’s any consolation, the Cardinals, who are one game behind the Dodgers at the moment for the second Wild card spot, face the Cubs in their final three games this weekend in Chicago. Only a half game separates the Cubs and the Brewers for the NL Central lead, which puts plenty of pressure on the Cubs to win.
But if the Dodgers are unable to secure the NL West title and are forced to face, say the Brewers, in the Wild Card game on Tuesday, Los Angeles may be faced to start either Rich Hill or Ross Stripling in the Wild card contest, because the Dodgers are throwing all their big guns—Hyun-Jin Ryu, Clayton Kershaw and Walker Buehler—against the Giants this weekend.
Any way you look at it, there’s a ton of speculation and there are a number of possible scenarios. A loss from any one of a handful of clubs could change the entire landscape in the blink of an eye.
If the Dodgers and Rockies finish tied in the West, they will play for the division title on Monday at Dodger Stadium because the Dodgers won the season series. Hill or Stripling would start that game for Los Angeles. And both teams would still have their expanded rosters.
“Just prepare to win a game on Friday,” Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner told reporters after Wednesday’s loss to the Diamondbacks. “There’s nothing else you can do.”
Either way, the team’s streak of five consecutive division crowns will be in jeopardy. Sure, there have been plenty of injuries, but there also has been a lot of underachievement. On paper, the Dodgers have perhaps the best offensive weapons on the senior circuit, yet they have been unable to consistently execute. As far as season series go, they went 1-6 against the last-place Cincinnati Reds and 2-4 against the last-place Miami Marlins. They even lost a critical home series against the Mets earlier in September.
Los Angeles will need to find a way to ignite its bats this weekend in San Francisco, which is commonly known as a pitcher’s park. It may be time to stop playing the numbers games and just go with the team’s best eight players, because after this weekend, there may not be another chance to mike it right.