Wednesday was a very good day for the Blue Crew. Aside from their second consecutive comeback victory over the Brew Crew in Milwaukee, they watched playoff contenders San Fran, Philadelphia, and St. Louis all lose. They narrowed the gap to 5.5 games in the wild-card hunt and will give battle to three of the teams ahead of them in the playoff standings after departing Milwaukee.
Here’s a look at the wild-card race:
- Philadelphia (70-56)
- San Francisco (71-57)
- St. Louis (68-56)
- Colorado (66-60)
- Los Angeles (65-62)
Obviously, the team has a big hill to climb in getting to the top spot. Jumping four teams in the standings with 36-37 games left is statistically improbable, but crazier things have happened. Just ask Rod Barajas.
Stranger things have happened. I was with the Phillies in ’07 when were down 7 with 17 games to play.
The Dodgers will also have a chance to inflict damage upon their playoff foes. They play a whopping 9 games against the Rockies, 6 against the Giants, and 3 against Philadelphia. They face these opponents in the next three series and the outcome of these games will effectively determine whether the Dodgers have meaningful September games. If they struggle against any of the three, you can pencil them out of the playoffs. They will have to win all three series to stay in the playoff picture, a very tall task. Whether they enlist Manny Ramirez to aid in this playoff push will be interesting.
Manny had his first breakout game since returning from the DL by getting on base four times in four plate appearances on Wednesday. At least for a day, he reminded fans that he is the engine behind the team’s offense and that the Dodgers won’t come close to sniffing the post-season without him.
So, what will Ned decide? Will the Dodgers listen to their heart and keep the big slugger to make a desperate playoff push? Or will they use their head and trade him to bolster the farm? Not an easy decision. The guess here is that the team will see what others are willing to offer but eventually keep him after being underwhelmed by the potential return. Sure, the Dodgers are cheap but interested parties are not going to give up significant talent whatsoever for a hundred or so Ramirez plate appearances. And LA likely will not want to blow up their only shot at the post-season for a couple of average double-A pitchers.
After September 5th and nine games against the Rox, Phils, and Giants, we’ll know a lot more about the Dodgers’ playoff aspirations.