It seems like just yesterday that the Dodgers kicked off their season on a sunny day in sunny California. They had their ace on the mound and a season of high expectations ahead of them. It did not start as planned. The boys in blue did not score a run against Ty Blach who was forced into an Opening Day start by a myriad of injuries to the Giants’ rotation. All it took was a Joe Panik solo shot to give the Dodgers a loss in the opening series.
We all know how it went from there. The team finished the first month of the season with a 12-16 record and a staggering eight games behind the streaking Diamondbacks. Arizona is now a distant third place and eliminated from the playoffs, but the Rockies are the juggernaut. Colorado just will not stop winning games and racking up ridiculous offensive numbers in the final push of the season.
So it comes down to this. Three games in San Francisco for all the marbles. The Dodgers and Giants have squared off 16 times this season, and San Francisco has walked away with nine wins. Things are a little bit different though. The Giants have lost 18 games in September and squeaked out just five wins.
They no longer have Andrew McCutchen(trade to NYY), Austin Jackson(trade to NYM), Buster Posey(hip surgery), Brandon Belt(knee surgery), Jeff Samardzija(shoulder), Pablo Sandoval(hamstring), and Johnny Cueto(Tommy John surgery) just to name a few. Simply put, they are not a very good team this season.
There is one factor that will be quite the obstacle for the Dodgers though. Madison Bumgarner, who missed the first series, will pitch Friday evening. He has thrown two games against Los Angeles in 2018, to the tune of five earned runs over 12 innings of work. Dereck Rodriguez and Andrew Suarez are scheduled to pitch Saturday and Sunday. The Dodgers have not seen Rodriguez yet, but Suarez dominated them for six innings back in August.
Playoffs On the Line
The Dodgers can sweep this entire series and still potentially not win the west. The Rockies square off for three games against the Nationals and have won seven straight. Washington has still not announced their starters for Saturday and Sunday, but here’s hoping that Max Scherzer gets one more dominant start in for the year.
Your annual reminder to expect a first-round upset: @MLB Wild Card Game winners have a *winning record* against No. 1 overall seeds in Division Series games since the two-Wild Card format began in 2012. @MLBNetwork
— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) September 27, 2018
Should the Rockies lose one and the Dodgers win all three, there will be a one-game playoff at Dodger Stadium on Monday. Realistically, it looks like the Dodgers best path to the postseason is going to be via the wild card. That game will be played either at Wrigley Field against the Cubs or in Milwaukee against the Brew Crew. Both very good teams, but the Brewers might be the scary one at the moment.
Dodgers to Watch
Chris Taylor– CT3 has had one heck of a month, slashing .354/.436/.625 to go along with his three homeruns. His on-base percentage is by far the best he has put up in a month all season long.
Hyun-jin Ryu– Ryu has been ridiculous since he came back from the disabled list. Over his past eight starts, he has thrown 46.2 innings and allowed just ten earned runs, good for a 1.93 earned run average. He has also only walked three batters in that time.
Walker Buehler– The young flamethrower continues to absolutely baffle hitters just as he has all year long. Over his last 11 starts, he has tossed 68.2 innings and given up 13 runs. That puts him at a 1.70 ERA, and he has struck out a staggering 84 hitters in that timeframe.
There’s no doubt that this season has been a tough one for the Dodgers faithful. But there is still hope. The boys can still pull it all together and go on a streak. And what better way to start a ridiculous run than right before the playoffs? October baseball folks, fall is in the air.
[button color=”red” size=”big” alignment=”center” rel=”follow” openin=”samewindow” url=”http://dodgersnation.com/pennant-race-daily-back-to-the-depths-of-the-abyss-ce1110/2018/09/26/”]Pennant Race Daily: Back To The Depths of The Abyss[/button]