Nice to be tied for 1st Place
Nice to be tied for 1st Place
With the Cardinals in town for a four game series, the Dodgers look to improve on their lifetime record of 1,047-1,078 against the Redbirds. The Blue are throwing their best four starters, Josh Beckett, Hyun-jin Ryu, Zack Greinke, and Clayton Kershaw.
The last time the Dodgers played St. Louis, Clayton Kershaw performed like a mere shell of his current self (Game 6 of the NLCS). This time, Kershaw has the momentum working in his favor, as he works to improve on his current streak of 21 scoreless innings.
Puig thought he hit a home run in Game 3 of the NLCS, but when the ball hit the wall, he had to turn on the hyper-drive to turn his hit into a triple. We’ll be looking for more of this hyper-drive gear, not only from Puig, but also from Gordon.
Dee may or may not steal many bases off the stingy Yadier Molina, but look for the possibility of extra bases with every hit to the outfield. Gordon has been on an extra base tear of late, as he has hit three of his league leading nine triples in the past nine games.
With the Dodgers and the Giants playing second division rivals Padres and Diamondbacks, the focus this weekend needs to be on getting the job done. The Giants aren’t likely to lose many games to the D-Backs. Therefore, the Dodgers need to get the job done and beat the Padres as many times as possible.
Just don’t do anything stupid. If that seems easy, you haven’t spent much time around the Dodgers. Do you want to know why Vinny talks so much about the importance of the catcher blocking low pitches? Probably because Mickey Owen let strike three and the 1941 World Series slip right on by him. http://www.nytimes.com/2005/07/15/sports/baseball/15OWEN.html
Keep Paul Maholm and Chris Perez out of the game unless we are losing by 5+ runs late in the game. Take Hanley out of the game if we’re leading by 2+ runs in the eighth inning. Catch routine fly balls with two hands. Hit the cutoff man. Don’t bunt on the first pitch with Dee Gordon on first base.
Which direction is this team headed – up or down? After a winning road trip (4-3) and a home series win (2-1) over the lowly Diamondbacks, the Dodgers are gaining some upward momentum. They have moved from 9.5 games behind to 6.5 games behind. It helps that the Giants lost three of four to the Nationals and got swept by the Rockies. This brings us to the current standings of:
Team W L GB
Giants 43 27 __
Dodgers 37 34 6.5
Rockies 34 35 8.5
While the Dodgers play a three-game series at home (ugh) against the Rockies, the Giants will visit the Chisox for a two game mini-series. If all goes well (rose-colored glasses on), the standings on Thursday morning could be:
Giants 43 29 __
Dodgers 40 34 4
Rockies 34 38 9
If all goes poorly (black and orange glasses on), the standings on Thursday morning could be:
Giants 45 27 __
Rockies 37 35 8
Dodgers 37 37 9
Noting that this is baseball and not an all-or-nothing affair, there is also a possibility of a middle-of-road outcome of Dodgers lose 2-1 to the Rockies and Giants split in Chicago. That would leave us at a more realistic possibility of:
Giants 44 28 __
Dodgers 38 36 7
Rockies 36 36 8
Obviously, all of this speculation is meaningless. We’ve got to play the games. Here’s hoping for a sweep due to our top starters of Ryu, Greinke, and Kershaw. They are going to need some help from the on-again, off-again offense, the sometimes great, sometimes wretched defense, and the withering bullpen.
The best thing about being back in L.A.
Hit ’em hard!