The NL Wild Card race continues its reverse stampede

This pinch-hit Dodger Thoughts post is dedicated to Robin Ventura.

The Dodgers found perhaps the best way to gain ground in the NL Wild Card and NL West races: they didn’t play. While the Dodgers spent a day off in Phoenix, the two teams the Dodgers are pursuing, the Giants and Cardinals, both lost.

The Giants started a three-game series in Denver Monday against a Rockies team that had lost five straight and had been swept in a split doubleheader the day/night before in Philadelphia. The Giants were coming off a 4-0 shutout win over the Dodgers. So, the vagaries of baseball made the Rockies a 6-5 winner. Ryan Vogelsong took the loss for the Giants. In his last six starts, Vogelsong has a put up a 9.57 ERA. And he’s still managed to win two of those games. But it does appear that Vogelsong is pitching himself into a long relief role for the Giants in the playoffs. (Yes, I’m assuming that the Giants will make the playoffs.)

** Checking back in history, the 1951 Giants, with 21 games left in the season were trailing the Dodgers by six games. They went 16-5 before the tiebreaker. In 1962, with 21 games left, the Giants trailed the Dodgers by 1/2 game, although that would increase to four games with seven left to play.

Down south (as Vin likes to refer to San Diego), the Cardinals started a seven-game road trip to Southern California with an 11-3 pounding by the Padres. Old Friend Eric Stults improved to 6-2 on the season. NL RBI leader Chase Headley drove in … none.

So, as the Dodgers get ready to play Arizona Tuesday night, they will be trailing the Giants by five games in the NL West and trailing the Cardinals by one game for the NL’s second wild card.

The Pirates lost to the Reds, 4-3 in 14 innings to remain 2 1/2 games behind the Cardinals. Making very late runs are Milwaukee and Philadelphia, both of whom are now 70-71. The Brewers have won 16 of their last 21 and the Phillies have won 13 of their last 17. So, if you’re looking for a 2007 Rockies-like run to the wild card, keep an eye on these two teams.

However, all the losing by teams in front of them won’t help the Dodgers until they actually win games. The Dodgers last trip to Arizona was at the beginning of July before the All-Star Break and they lost three of four games. The Dodgers lineup on the day before the break:

Tony Gwynn, CF
Mark Ellis, 2B
Bobby Abreu, LF
Juan Rivera, 1B
Jerry Hairston, 3B
Elian Herrera, RF
Luis Cruz, SS
Matt Treanor, C
Chris Capuano, P

The Dodgers lost the game 7-1, with the only run scoring on a pinch hit sacrifice fly by Juan Uribe in the ninth inning.

Tuesday should bring the return of Clayton Kershaw and Matt Kemp to the lineup. And Dodgers fans can only hope in the healing power of cortisone. And rest. (Or else we can read more about the relative levels of manhood shown by people in 1965 as opposed to today. Or maybe not.) The Diamondbacks will be countering with Ian Kennedy.

In other games of note Tuesday, the Giants will be at Coors Field in a 5:40 pm game matching up Madison Bumgarner and Jhoulys Chacin. The Cardinals and Padres start at 7:10 pm with Adam Wainwright pitching against Edinson Volquez.

There will likely be news during the day regarding injured players and maybe some minor league call ups, but I may not be able to get to them unless they are all announced while I’m on my lunch hour. And that never seems to happen.

  • Anonymous

    Yeah, stuff never happens at a good time

  • Anonymous

    Great post BT. Maybe we can not play our way back into winning the division!

    • Anonymous

      Agreed.  I’m all for seeing how many of these off days we can get away with.  Rain outs, anyone?

  • http://www.linkmeister.com/wordpress/ Linkmeister

    Why have we had no news of the Blue Jays? The blogkeeper is in Toronto; shouldn’t he be reporting on this? ;)

  • Anonymous

    Package206 : regarding your reply to me “3 hours ago” above – I’ll make it simple for you as well – the word *maybe* that you correctly used twice in your post proves my point beautifully :Pitching Kershaw would not gaurantee anything – it’s hard for me to understand you don’t grasp this – it wasn’t the pitching that lost that last game against the Giants – it was the ineptitude of the Dodgers offense – you seem to be saying that if Kershaw started the game, then all of a sudden that would have made the Dodgers hitters be able to pull thier heads out and actually make adjustments against a junk-ball lefty – the same type of pitcher that they’ve been losing to for the past month.What would he do for an encore? Walk on water? Sorry, Package, hate to break it to ya - Kershaw is not a miracle worker. 

    • Anonymous

      This year, Kershaw has lost two games in which the final score was 2-0.  He has also lost three games in which the final scores were 2-1, 2-1, and 3-1 (and had a no-decision in a game the Dodgers lost 4-1).  It’s impossible to win when your team scores no runs, and it’s pretty darn hard to win when your team only scores one.

    • Anonymous

      The part you are not getting is that I said that the Dodgers should put out the best possible team for that game.  Pitching Joe Blanton does not accomplish that.  We do not know what would or would not happen if Kershaw pitched.  All the varibles change.  One thing we do know is that Kershaw has better numbers than Blanton.  To treat that game like the rest of the 162 is wrong, wrong, wrong.  More effort needed to be made to win that ballgame and I am not saying that someone did not try. By the way, do you think tonights lineup is the type lineup the Dodgers need when they are 5 back????????????????

  • Anonymous

    >> Making very late runs are Milwaukee and Philadelphia, both of whom are now 70-71. The Brewers have won 16 of their last 21 and the Phillies have won 13 of their last 17. So, if you’re looking for a 2007 Rockies-like run to the wild card, keep an eye on these two teams.

    Actually, they both sound a lot more like the 2011 Dodgers.  :)

    • Anonymous

      Without the bankruptcy.

  • Anonymous

    Man, that was an ugly lineup.

  • Anonymous

    For the next pinch hitter of note, I nominate Vic Davalillo.

    • Anonymous

      Manny Mota and Dave Hansen already been used?

      • Anonymous

        Yes

  • Anonymous

    Davalillio, Mota, and Hansen have been used.

    • Anonymous

      Mark Loretta can’t be far behind!

      • Anonymous

        I’m waiting for the final PH post to see who didn’t make the cut :)

    • Anonymous

      My apologies for the Davalillo oversight. I retract my apology, though, should you choose Mark Sweeney.

      • Anonymous

        He was on my door prize list…him and you know who!

    • Anonymous

       But as far as I can see, the Killer Tomato has not.

  • Anonymous

    Why isn’t jon writing anymore? I’m not saying that Bob Timmerann is doing a bad job because he isn’t I’m just curious.

    • Anonymous

      It’s only temporary.  Jon’s out of the country for six days, at the Toronto Film Festival.  See http://www.dodgerthoughts.com/2012/09/05/billingsleys-season-is-over

    • Anonymous

      Probably because ‘she who must be obeyed’ has other plans. Vacation is one thing that comes to mind. Reading the blogs are a pleasure, writing them is a job and it does get old, like any other job…

  • Anonymous

    NPUT