So, you want to start following the wild card race?

This pinch-hit post is dedicated to Mitch Webster.

The Dodgers now find themselves 5 1/2 games behind the Giants in the NL West race. With just 23 game left for the Dodgers and just five of them against the Giants, the Dodgers playoff fate is no longer in their own hands. In fact, even if the Dodgers went 23-0 the rest of the way, they might not even make the playoffs at all. The only teams in the NL that control their own destiny are the five current playoff spot holders: Washington, Cincinnati, San Francisco, Atlanta, and St. Louis.

There are three main contenders for the second wild card spot, or, as I like to call it in shorthand, WC2: St. Louis, Pittsburgh, and Los Angeles. The Cardinals have a 1 1/2 game lead over the Bucs and Dodgers.

We know how the Dodgers did last night, but how did Friday night go for the other teams?

Not well.

The Pirates played the games and played a game that might have been the worst of all possible worlds. The Cubs had lost 16 of their last 17 games on the road. And the Cubs parlayed SEVEN Pittsburgh errors in to a 12-2 win that was not as close as the score would indicate.

The sixth inning was one for the ages. Brett Jackson led off for the Cubs with an infield hit. A.J. Burnett then had a pitch get past Old Friend Rod Barajas to let Jackson advance. Darwin Barney hit a grounder to shortstop Josh Harrison who tried to throw out Jackson at third. Jackson looked to be out, but managed to slide around the tag attempt of Pedro Alvarez. Bucs manager Clint Hurdle argued with umpire Gary Darling and got himself ejected.

Then, it got worse. Travis Wood dropped a horrible sacrifice attempt in front of the plate. Barajas threw to second to start what should have been an easy double play. But, the throw was wide and everyone was safe. David DeJesus followed with a grounder to first baseman Gaby Sanchez, who threw home for what should have been a 3-2-3 DP. But, Barajas couldn’t handle the throw and a run scored. (Sanchez drew the error.) The Pirates made a double switch, removing Barajas. Reliever Justin Wilson came in and gave up a 2-run double to Luis Valbuena. It was not the Pirates’ night. They committed seven errors in a game for the first time since September 16, 1985. You can watch the errorfest here.

Over in St. Louis, the Cardinals and Brewers were delayed by rain for two and a half hours. The Cardinals led 2-0 after the first inning, but the Brewers tied the game with single runs in the fourth and seventh.  In the top of the eighth, the Brewers took a 4-2 lead and turned the lead over to Jim Henderson, one of their less shaky relievers. Henderson gave up a game-tying 2-run homer to Yadier Molina in the bottom of the 8th.

The game pressed on into the night. The Best Fans in Baseball became the sleepiest fans in baseball. And then they went home. Why? Because they were still playing at 2 am local time. And it was around 2 am, when Ryan Braun homered off of Lance Lynn in the 13th. (In the link you can listen to Brewers announcer Brian Anderson say, “Braun unbreaks the tie!” Hey, it was late.) The Brewers held on for a 5-4 win. The Cardinals had left the bases loaded in the 11th and left two runners on in the 12th.

Despite the disappointments that the Dodgers, Pirates, and Cardinals all had last night, they will all be back at it today. Because that’s the nature of baseball, there’s almost always a game the next day. Although after October 3, many teams won’t be able to say that.

 

  • Anonymous

    LAT’d:

    Let’s keep some perspective. I can remember 1962, when the Dodgers
    were clearly the class of the National League, but the injury to Koufax
    and a team-wide slump (sound familiar?) let the Gnats tie them on the
    last day of the season. Even then, the Dodgers had the three-game
    playoff won until a combination of bad bullpen decisions by Alston and
    BABIP by the Gnats sunk them in the ninth.

    That was the last chance for the Gnats, who took the Yanquis to
    seven, but it took nearly another half-century before their luck would
    hold up enough to win a Series. In succeeding years, talented players
    like Cepeda, Mays, Marichal and McCovey were productive but never again
    seriously challenged the Dodgers. In 1963, of course, the Dodgers were
    healthy and rebounded to sweep the Yanquis, and they won again in 1965
    over the Twinkies.

    I’m not conceding 2012, even though the Dodgers have lost Bills for
    the year and have a decimated bullpen. Still, they are poised are poised
    to dominate the division in the near future and, as the hangover from the McCourt debacle
    recedes, we can be optimistic long-term future as well.

    • Anonymous

      The Dodgers haven’t exactly dominated since the trades. It’s hard to see how the Dodgers are poised to dominate in the near future with essentially the same group of players minus perhaps Bills.

      • Anonymous

        I didn’t say they have. I said they will. In the long run, talent will dominate, and they have the talent.

        • Anonymous

          It’s the same team plus AGon and Hanley minus Bills if he needs TJ. That’s enough talent to compete in the NL West but not even close to being dominant, not to mention our 30+ guys will decline and pitching is now a weakness.

          • Anonymous

            Zach Lee will be up before too long and, if Bills is gone, the Dodgers will probably sign Greinke – partly to show the Anaheimers who’s in charge now. A healthy bullpen will make a big difference.

          • Anonymous

            If the phrase “in the near future” means next year then I doubt WBB will be right. Dominating the division will require 2 out of Crawford, Gordon, and Cruz playing at All-Star level plus a true #2 pitcher plus Jansen coming back plus no serious loss of playing time by any of our core players more than a few of which are in their thirties. Also the continued presence of Colletti is a negative.

          • Anonymous

            It’s a little early to expect all-star seasons from Dee and Cruz. Dee needs to show first that he isn’t the worst player in baseball at both offense and defense. Cruz will not sustain his hitting as long as 40% of his swings are at balls outside the zone (much higher than Uribe’s O-Zone %). Crawford is finished.

          • Anonymous

            >> still has holes in LF and SS

            HR and Victorino/Crawford are not “holes”.

          • Anonymous

            Not sure why you feel it’s necessary to include personal attacks in a baseball discussion, nsxtasy. On a well-moderated board, such behavior would be shunned as flaming and off-topic. But thanks for pointing out that not liking a baseball team’s direction is a sure indicator for a generally negative and unhappy person. That’s not asinine at all. 

          • Anonymous

             I should add that a healthy Kemp will also make a huge difference.

      • foul tip

         
        This year may not end well.   But there’s still time…and hope.  Hope isn’t much, but it’s better than nothing.

        There’s no question the team has been seriously upgraded.  It just may be next year before it shows just how much.

        Patience may not always be a virtue.  But sometimes it’s a necessity.

  • Anonymous

    Unbreak my heart!

  • Anonymous

    The Nationals have announced that Operation Shutdown for Stephen Strasburg starts… today.

  • Anonymous

    Ken Gurnick of dodgers.com reports that Matt Kemp is not in the starting lineup today.

  • Anonymous

    I see this comment was LAT’d, so I’m not sure of the context, but I have to disagree with your point that the Giants never seriously challenged the Dodgers after 1962. 1965 and 1966 were both extremely close races, I believe that the Dodgers clinched each year on either the final day, or second to last day. In fact, you might argue that the Giants were a better team during the mid-60′s. They were certainly a better hitting team, which was not saying a lot, but their pitching was pretty good too. These two years were when I first started following baseball and the Dodgers as a young boy. I remember the Dodgers just pulling it out, mainly on the arms of Koufax and Drysdale in ’65, and Koufax and Regan in ’66.

    This is supposed to be on WBBsAs comment below, or above depending on your preference.

    • Anonymous

      good point plus everything changes with Koufax gone

      • Anonymous

        They were a disaster in 1967 without Koufax. Plus, they traded both Tommy Davis and Maury Wills. Both had something of comeback seasons with their new teams.

        • Anonymous

          Tommy D was never the same after his broken ankle, but he hung for a long utility career.

  • Anonymous

    I have never before seen even important errors in a game in mlb highlights. The link provided to the 7 errors doesn’t get you there but if you are familiar with gameday you can find your way. This link will skip a step http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/gameday/index.jsp?gid=2012_09_07_chnmlb_pitmlb_1&mode=wrap#gid=2012_09_07_chnmlb_pitmlb_1&mode=video

    • Anonymous

      The Dodgers last made 7 errors in a game on 9/1/1995.
      http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/LAN/LAN199509010.shtml 
      Jose Offerman, Delino DeShields, and Dave Hansen made two each and Brett Butler made the other.
      Three of the errors came on two consecutive plays. Rondell White reached on an error by Hansen. White stole second and Offerman couldn’t handle the throw, allowing White to go to third. Butler tried to throw out White and threw the ball away.

      Another classic later in the game was when Sean Berry lined out to short and Offerman tried to throw back to first double off Darren Fletcher, but threw the ball away and Fletcher went to third, where he scored on an infield single by Wil Cordero.

  • Anonymous

    I found better links for the MLB videos. They should take you right to it now.

  • Anonymous

    NPUT