Tight Race Could Play Right into Dodgers’ Hands

For so much of the season, this writer has been complaining that the 2021 Los Angeles Dodgers don’t seem to have that spark, that come from behind mentality.

Wednesday night, those same Dodgers might have proved her wrong. And of course, she went to bed and missed it.

But that’s ok! The end result is all that really matters and man, what a result. The Dodgers showed a lot of fight and maybe, just maybe building some momentum to carry them through the playoffs.

As we’ve stated many times, the Dodgers need to win out the rest of season to have a chance at winning the division. As Brusdar Graterol was giving up the lead in that game, the Giants scored the lone run in their game. The difference in the division remains at two games.

In as much, the Dodgers knew that the Giants were going to win, and that they had to win their game to still have a chance to win the division. In a reverse of the 4+1 games against those same Padres in 2006, the Dodgers hit one homer in the seventh inning and then hit four homers in the eighth to get the win. Ironically, Nomar Garciaparra, who hit the game winner in 2006, was on the call for the game Wednesday night.

In another reverse aspect, it was the offense that picked up the starting pitching. Max Scherzer had his worst outing as a Dodger, allowing five earned runs. As mentioned, Graterol was not sharp, allowing three earned runs. The team looked like it had scored all it runs early and stopped again. Until.

When Mookie Betts hit his home run in the seventh, bench coach Bob Geren turned to manager Dave Roberts and said “We’re going to win this game”.

The win was a total team effort. Besides Betts, Max Muncy, AJ Pollock, Cody Bellinger and Corey Seager all homered in that eighth inning. While I am not naive enough to think that that homer fixed Belli’s swing, it could go a long way in giving the beleaguered player some much needed confidence.

In his weekly podcast with his wife Kourtney Turner, Justin Turner this week reflected on what it’s like to win the division, and win it early. He commented that when they won the division in 2017, they went through that huge losing streak in September because they were far and ahead the best team in the division, kind of lost that, and there were some tough days. Then again in 2019, when they won the division three weeks before the season was over, they ended up sleepwalking into the playoffs, and got rolled out by the Washington Nationals.

JT said that the Nationals had been fighting and clawing their way to the playoffs all season, and they had that fight in them, and he felt like the 2019 team did not. He feels like that mindset and the fact the Dodgers are going to have to give it everything they have here at the end of the season and the Wild Card game, should they not be in the division, might be better for them.

One could also see that while last season was an anomaly, the team knows what it takes to win the World Series now, and could take that with them through the playoffs.

This will be the first year that this Dodgers team tries to win the world championship from the number one position in the National League. Who’s to say that won’t motivate them?

While the Dodgers can only control how they play as far as the division goes, they would be good to adopt the “we’re going to win this game” mentality for the rest of their games this season. They are the most talented team in baseball and all they have to do is play like it.

6 thoughts on “Tight Race Could Play Right into Dodgers’ Hands

  1. Most likely – we play the WC game
    Less likely – we wind up tied after 162 and play a game 163 on Monday
    Least likely – we win the division outright.

    Having to play a game 163 and losing that game is the worst possible scenario because that would use up our two best starters, leaving both unavailable to start Game 1 of the NLCS (assuming we even get there).

    And based on recent starts are we completely certain that Doc uses Max to start a potential game 163? Maybe Buehler’s last start and Scherzer’s last 2 starts has given Roberts cause to rethink that.

    Madbum vs. Old Friend Kazmir tonight up north. That should be fun.

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  2. Well 2 out with 3 to play. Get ready for the Cardinals. They will be coming in hot. But the Dodgers are not exactly swiss cheese right now. The offense is beginning to heat up. The pitching as been stellar despite hiccups by Scherzer, Urias et al. Corey Seager is probing that when healthy, he is an offensive force. And his defense has been better. I like Turner as a replacement if Corey leaves, but me, I try to sign the guy. Maybe he moves to third if they bring back the DH and the Dodgers ask nicely.

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    1. It’s going to be fascinating to observe the Shortstop Signing Derby this winter. For a while there it looked like most of the guys were going to have off years but most of the big names have come on pretty strong so it will be quite the show watching to see who goes where.

      You mention that maybe Corey would move to third if they asked nicely. Uh…………………no. He might move to third if they asked nicely and threw about 20 million more at him than any other team was willing to offer. Everyone talks about how Seager would like to play near his home in the Carolinas but I’m not sure if that would be the primary motivating factor for his signing with a team on the east coast. It’s more likely that his being a huge Yankee fan when he was younger might steer him there if the money was equal and he was told he would be the shortstop. We just don’t know how strong his ties are to Dodger Blue. I’m sure he’s comfortable here, but being told he was no longer the shortstop might very well be a deal breaker unless the money was a lot more here.

      If we lose Seager and then can’t re-sign Trea after next season, most of the good shortstops will be off the market. We also don’t know if the Dodgers see Lux as a future shortstop, a future second baseman a future outfielder or a future left handed CT3 (all around utility guy). From what I know of Gavin’s personality (and I admit that’s almost nothing), my guess is that he would be most comfortable playing the same position every day, wherever that might be.

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      1. I was hoping Corey’s mind set was doing what is best for the team. Turner seems to be an east coast guy also. Cardinals signed Wainwright to a one year extension to finish his career in St. Loo next season. I would think it would be awesome for Albert to finish there with his buddies, Yadier and Adam. Rich Hill says he is definitely coming back next year. Of course that depends on a team wanting him to be a starter.

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      2. I think a player might very well want to do what’s best for the team when he’s already under contract, but when he’s negotiating a new contract he wants to do what’s best for him and his family. Also, I think shortstop is considered a more valuable defensive position therefore worth more money.

        Old pal Dick Mountain actually had a pretty nice year. I don’t think he’ll have any problem getting an offer from a team to be their #4 or #5 starter. The only drawback could be that it might not be a contender, although I could definitely see Farhan making an offer. Most of his staff are free agents this winter. I’m not sure he’ll be able to bring all of them back.

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      3. No such thing bear. It’s all about what’s best for them in a very short career. You and I would probably do the same. That’s why free agent superstars rarely re sign with their team.

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