September 19, 2012; Washington, D.C., USA; Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Josh Beckett (61) pitches in the first inning against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Joy R. Absalon-US PRESSWIRE

Dodgers 3.5 Back With Nine to Play, Begin Final Road Series


Dodgers Lineup vs. San Diego

M.Ellis 4
Ethier 9
Kemp 8
Gonzalez 3
Ramirez 6
Victorino 7
Cruz 5
Ellis 2
Beckett 1

Josh Beckett-6-13 vs. Edinson Volquez-10-11

Three and a half games to make up, with nine to play. This is the scenario the Dodgers find themselves in. They must make up three and a half with nine to play on the Cardinals, who have eight games left. The Dodgers elimination number is now six. Any combination of six Cardinal wins, or Dodger losses, and were done. It’s a scary thought. However despite this, the Dodgers still have a chance, but they have to win out the rest of their games. They can’t afford to even lose a single game. The Dodgers come into San Diego for their final road series of 2012. The Cardinals are on the road, finishing a three game set with Houston, before coming back home to play Washington and the Reds. The Cardinals are off on Thursday, so the Dodgers can make that half game up. What’s important to look at is the Dodgers are three back in the loss column. The Dodgers must make up three with nine to play. Can they do it?

NL Wild Card Standings

Atlanta 88-65        _
ST. Louis 83-71      –
Dodgers 79-74     3.5
Milwaukee 79-74 3.5
Philadelphia 77-76 5.5
Arizona         77-76 5.5

After last night’s series win over the Reds, the Dodgers come back to California for the rest of the season. The Dodgers will give the ball to a known Padre killer, Josh Beckett. He hasn’t faced the Padres since 2005, but has dominated. Beckett is 5-1 with a 2.16 ERA in his career against the Padres. With the Dodgers he is 1-2 with a 3.45 ERA. Beckett has pitched well, but you have to watch him late in games. He’s no kid anymore. Case In point, last start, the 32 year old veteran allowed three earned runs through 7.1 at Washington. Before he had entered the eighth inning he was breezing, and hadn’t allowed anything. Beckett recorded the last win for a starter for the Dodgers which was back on September 1. That’s because the Dodgers are only averaging 2.7 runs per game this month. Only three current Padres have seen Beckett in the past. Mark Kotsay is 6 for 18 (.333). Carlos Quentin is 2 for 11, and Chase Headley is 0 for 1. All total that’s 8 for 29, (.276). Beckett is 6-13 on the season.

The Padres will counter with right hander Edinson Volquez. Volquez is a familiar foe whom the Dodgers have hit hard in the past. Volquez is 1-2 with an ERA of 5.00 against the Dodgers. However in his last start, Volquez did something he hasn’t done since 2006. That is he went the entire start without walking a single batter. That in of itself is something amazing, considering, Volquez’s long and established history of control problems. The Dodgers are hitting .311 (38 for 122) off of Volquez, with three home runs. Look at these numbers. Mark Ellis is batting .400 (6 for 15) with a double and a home run. Andre Ethier is hitting .385 (5 for 13) with three doubles. Juan Rivera is 5 for 11. Shane Victorino is 6 for 12 (.500), with two doubles. Matt Kemp is 5 for 10, (.500), with a home run. Adrian Gonzalez has hit the third hone run. They’ve driven in 21 runs and have a .907 OPS against Volquez. Volquez is 10-11 against the league, with a 4.30 ERA, 166 whiffs, and an eye popping 100 walks.

Last night, Hanley Ramirez fouled a ball off of his shin, limped around a bit, singled, then had to come out of the game. X-rays taken last night were negative, so don’t worry. He should be in the lineup tonight. Shane Victorino also returns to the lineup after missing time with a sore wrist.

The Dodgers have to roll off a bunch of wins, they certainly are capable of it. Will the Dodgers go from postseason aspirations to Golf course reservations? Or will they rise to the challenge? They’re going to need some help, but it’s possible. First pitch is at 7:10PM, and televised on KCAL. Don’t forget to join us after the game for our detailed recap. Go Blue.

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Tags: A.J. Ellis Adrian Gonzalez Andre Ethier Don Mattingly Hanley Ramirez Josh Beckett Los Angeles Dodgers Luis Cruz Mark Ellis Matt Kemp Shane Victorino