Opinion of Kingman's Performance

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Reviewing the Final 24

I know there’s no way of sugar coating things.  This team is not getting it done.  Now the Dodgers are about to embark on the toughest part of their schedule with three in San Francisco, 2 in Arizona, 4 at home against St. Louis and the dreaded road trip to Washington DC and Cincinnati for 6.

(photo by George Nikitin/Associated Press)
So many pundits have declared the Dodgers dead, simply based on the remaining games on the schedule while they note that the Giants don’t play a team that is over .500 except the Dodgers for the rest of the season.

Let me introduce some food for thought though.  For years we have known that some of the most dangerous teams to face in September are those that are playing for nothing.  Teams like the Padres and the Rockies.  They are able to play liberally and somewhat recklessly.  They steal, take extra bases, hit and run, run and hit, squeeze, throw out youngsters that are making  MLB debuts and they’re trying to prove themselves.  They hardly hold back.  They throw the kitchen sink at you.  They have nothing to lose and everything to gain.  We saw it the entire 3 game set against San Diego.

Teams like the Dodgers, who must win at all costs are really gripping.  Every out is pressure packed.  You can see the tenseness that the guys are playing with.  It’s almost as if they are striving not to fail rather than just going out and winning.  Every win on this homestand was a struggle and lately, each loss has been torturous.  When Kemp's blast to deep center field was caught leisurely by Maybin as he hopped above the wall, the deflation in the Dodger dugout was palpable.  A loss was practically inevitable it seemed.

So we know the Giants have the easiest schedule if you base it on the record of their opponents for the whole season.  They face the Padres for 6, the Rockies for 7, the D-Backs for 5, and the Dodgers for 6.  If you look at these teams records since August 5th, you’ll find that the Giants actually have some tough contests ahead.

If the season had started on August 5th.  These would be the standings:

San Diego 19-10   .655
San Francisco 19-11   .633
Colorado 18-12   .600
Los Angeles 15-15   .500
Arizona         13-18   .419

Yasmani Grandal and the Padres are the best in the west since August. (photo by Allen J, Schaben/L.A. Times)

The Padres are playing good ball.  The best in the division. San Francisco has a history of struggling at San Diego and the Dodgers only have 3 more games against them this year.  We all know the history of San Diego spoiling things for us. 

The Rockies are going to be tough for the Giants and considering that the Dodgers are done for the season at Coors Field, chalk up another advantage for L.A.

We just saw the D-Backs dominate the Giants in their home park.  The record shows that Arizona has performed the worst of all the NL West teams in the last month, BUT they just came off of a road trip in which they went 4-3 against the division leaders.  The Dodgers only have two games against Arizona remaining, versus San Francisco’s 5 against them.  Another advantage Dodgers.

So what about the Dodgers having to face the two other division leaders and a possible wild card team for 13 games?

Here is the Dodgers record against them this season:
Washington 3-0
St. Louis 4-3
Cincinnati 2-1

If the Dodgers are able to perform as they have against these clubs as they did earlier in the season.  They should be able to weather this storm.  I am fully aware that this is a different Dodger team and that they’ll need to step things up.  But they have done well on the road before and the four against the Cardinals are all at Dodger Stadium.

Granted, this road series against San Francisco must be won by the Dodgers.  A sweep isn’t mandatory, but it’ll certainly help.  If the Blue Crew is able to pull off a miracle sweep, the reeling Giants will then have to leave on a road trip for three in dreaded Colorado and three at Arizona (who just owned them in their own ball park).

As bad as things look right now.  A series win in San Francisco will completely change this pennant race and put the Giants in a very tough spot.  But the Dodgers have to win in San Francisco.  A series loss over the next three days puts the Dodgers out of the division race and a longshot a the second wild card spot.  This is the season folks.  

Donnie, no double switches taking Cruz out of the lineup for Kennedy, okay?  And no saving the bullpen for the off-season.  It’s League and Belisario for three straight days!  Time to get things done!

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