After last night’s troublesome loss, the Dodgers are now tied with Milwaukee at 4 1/2 games back of St. Louis for the second Wild Card slot. While the Cardinals are remaining steady with their victories over the Major League worst Houston Astros, the Dodgers are still bumbling and erring with baseball fundamentals. Two throwing errors by Dodger pitchers and two costly base running mistakes allowed the Padres to secure the one-run win in game one. Even though the errors and TOOTBLANS were frustrating to no end, the lack of offensive spark is the most disconcerting. The Dodgers have had tremendous problems scoring runs this season and hitting in clutch situations. This is exactly the opposite of how a championship team plays. A championship teams comes through in the clutch, delivers the big hit with runners in scoring position, can play small ball as well as hit the big homeruns. Championship teams do not make mistakes in high stakes situations. Great teams of course are not perfect, but the little mistakes can ultimately separate the runner-up from the champagne drinking celebrants come October.
With eight games remaining, the Dodgers would need divine intervention to sneak into the playoffs at this point. They would essentially need to win all eight games or perhaps go 7-1, and they would need help from St. Louis. The Cardinals magic number is now four, and the Dodgers could technically be eliminated Friday at the earliest. The Dodgers are now just 4 games above .500. What is also annoying is that the Arizona D-backs are only one game behind the Dodgers in the National League West division. Which means is that if the Dodgers fail to end the season on a strong note, there’s a very real possibility that they could finish the season in third place.
Aaron Harang will be going to the mound today in San Diego, and the Big Show is vying for his tenth win in his first season as a Dodger. Harang might have a slight advantage since he is not only pitching in a familiar park, but he also is coming off six days rest after Clayton Kershaw made a start on Sunday. Harang hasn’t won a game since back on August 18th in Atlanta. Last time out against Washington, he picked up a loss after going only 4 1/3 innings and allowing 2 runs on 7 hits to the Nationals. This will be Aaron’s 30th start of the season. In his career against San Diego, the right-hander is 4-5 with a 3.97 ERA. He’ll have to watch out for pesky Cameron Maybin who is hitting .375 against Harang with a homerun against him. Chase Headley has given Harang a really bad time, and he is hitting .333 with a homerun, double, four walks, and three RBIs against him. Overall I must say that Harang has been acceptable and dependable for the most part. He’s battled out of many jams during his starts, and he’s been a solid back end starter this season.
The Padres will counter with lefty Clayton Richard who is always a tough pitcher for the Dodgers to hit against.
Richard will be looking for his 15th victory on the season, and he has won two games in a row. Last time out against Arizona, he managed to win although he did allow 4 earned runs on 8 hits over 6 innings. His weakness is the long ball, and he has allowed 27 homeruns so far in his 31 starts. He’s had success against the Dodgers, and he sports a 6-2 record with a 2.82 ERA against Los Angeles in his career. We’ve seen Richard five time this season, and Richard has garnered a 2-1 record with a 3.09 ERA in those games. Juan Uribe of all players has had the most success against Richard, and the portly benchwarmer is hitting .444 with two homeruns against him. Matt Kemp is also hitting over .300 against the southpaw, but Andre Ethier has struggled against him in the past.
The afternoon match will begin at 3:35 pm, and it will be televised on Prime Ticket. We’ve been here through the entire season, stick around for the final week as we enjoy the last Dodger games of 2012.