The Dodgers: Last Week of the Season

What’s gonna happen to the Dodgers?

I’m glad that the season didn’t turn into the huge disaster it looked like it was going to be back when it started, but us Dodger fans are in for a nervous four days.

The magic number for winning the division and getting into the post-season is 5. Still. It’s been 5 for a few days and they’re running out of time. They only have 3 games left, and Colorado has 4. If the Dodgers don’t make it to 5 before Sunday, the Rockies win the division and the Dodgers are probably not even in the wild card game.

It’s even worse than that: having lost the last two nights’ games, making it to the post-season is no longer entirely in the Dodgers’ hands. They have only 3 games left, so even winning all three won’t add up to 5. In order for the Dodgers to win the Division, Colorado now has got to lose at least 2 of their remaining 4 games.

Unfortunately for us, the Rockies are on a roll.

We can still do it. I sure as hell hope we do. But this is way too down to the wire for comfort. I’m not even going to get into what it’s going to be like starting the playoffs after a super tense week in which winning the division wasn’t decided until the very last day of the season. Clinching earlier and coasting through a few games that don’t matter is usually good so a team can prepare for October baseball.

(There are all kinds of game 163 possibilities if the season ends in a tie. I’m usually good at understanding those things, but Joe Davis on the Dodgers Channel makes them sound so complicated that even I’m confused. So I’m not going to try to explain them for y’all. Try @Joe_Davis and ask him lol.)

Looking back, maybe my blogs about the Dodgers back in May were a little too negative. But things really were bad, especially when Corey Seager went down for the season. Yes, it got a lot better once we got to June, and we’re at least close to making it to the post-season – but, if we hadn’t played like shit during May, we’d have clinched at least a week ago. Those weeks of crappy baseball are biting us in the ass. Let’s just hope we’re not covered in Rockies toothmarks on Sunday.

I told y’all a story about how a change in coach turned our MT team around…and I suggested that maybe the Dodgers were due for a new manager. Ok, maybe I was wrong about that, although we’ll never know. Dave Roberts has gotten us as far as we’ve gotten…but that may still not be far enough.

He also still hasn’t solved the team’s biggest problem…the one that’s led to basically all its losses since it remembered how to play baseball. It’s a statistic nobody’s put through the computer yet, but the Dodgers probably lead the League in stranded runners. I’m not the first person to say this (and, if you ask anyone on the Parrots, I don’t shut up about it), but you just don’t strike out when there’s a man in scoring position. If he’s on 2nd, your job is to get him to 3rd. If he’s on 3rd, your job is to get him in. It doesn’t matter how. You don’t have to hit a home run. You don’t even have to reach. But you simply must do something to advance or bring in the runner. You do not strike out.

It’s like the Dodgers have never heard of a productive out.

You can’t win a division when all your scoring comes from long balls. Here’s something more: you sure as hell ain’t gonna win a championship that way.

That’s an issue no one’s discussing at the moment. I guess it’s icing the cake before you bake it (as Meemaw says), but, even if we do make it to the playoffs, can we really expect to get anywhere playing the way we have? Going 2 for 12 with runners in scoring position, like we did Tuesday? Winning the division is nice and all, but “winning the division” is another way of saying you lost in the NLDS. I hate being negative…but I just don’t see current Dodger baseball getting anybody to the World Series.

So there is still a problem with the manager. He hasn’t succeeded in fixing something that’s been a problem for months. We’ve been stranding runners in scoring position all season long. What changed and what got us to where we are is that we figured out other ways to win ballgames (like hitting a whole mess of home runs.) But, guys, c’mon…you gotta get that dude on 3rd home. That’s like something you learn in little league. I’m really now sure why a bunch of major leaguers are having such trouble with it.

Dave Roberts hasn’t fixed it. And he should have. What does he do instead? Give interviews after losses in which he says the team “didn’t execute.” So, man, get them to f-ing execute instead of making the same excuse every night. And “didn’t execute” isn’t even an excuse. It’s almost like saying “so we lost – so what?”.

I know about team morale, and it looks like Dave Roberts is avoiding being a hardass because he thinks a hardass manager is going to ruin morale in the clubhouse. That’s true sometimes…but the thing is that there are teams that respond well to hardass managers. I know I played dang well for the super hardass Yankee that we got at MT halfway through my junior year season, and I know I sucked playing for the nice Southern guy who got fired when our season went down the toilet. I played well in Hickory, too…and our manager there was halfway between nice guy and hardass. He was usually nice…but if someone fucked up, he had to be ready for getting his ass chewed off in front of the entire team. Using some of the worst language I’ve ever heard in a baseball clubhouse. And that’s saying something lol.

I’m not sure Dave Roberts has it in him to get up on a bench and yell that he’s gonna make the team wear fuckin Elsa dresses at the next game if they don’t stop leaving runners in scoring position.

I know this is the week teams fire their managers, and I know that the Dodgers aren’t going to fire a manager when they have a good chance of winning the division. I’m not even sure that I want Dave Roberts to be out on his ass. He’s clearly done a lot that’s right, and the team is at least still contention.

Still…the runners in scoring position thing should have been fixed months ago. It’s the last half-week of the season and it’s as bad as it ever was. What do they do at BP? It’s like the only thing they should be working on, and the situation never changes. I’m not sure why, but, since I’m not on the team, I don’t know what happens in the clubhouse.

One thing I do know: it sucks like you can’t believe when you hit a leadoff triple…and three batters later you have to skulk your way back to the dugout.

I reckon it’s too late to fix a major problem like that. All we can do is cross our fingers.

And hope that San Francisco sucks even worse than they usually do this weekend.

 

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