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Dodgers Free of Worries

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People are mopey here in the press box at Dodger Stadium today. The pall of failures from the last five games hangs around like an unwanted in-law.

The Dodgers are in the midst of their worst losing streak of the season which encourages about as much confidence as the Hindenburg.

However the players apparently don’t feel that same fog of disappointment.

In the clubhouse before the game, the LSU-Georgia game is playing. LSU driving with less than a minute left in the game trailing 13-12. Juan Pierre, Orlando Hudson and Matt Kemp are watching the game intently.

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Running back Charles Scott rushes for 33 yards for the go-ahead touchdown for the Tigers. Pierre jumps out of his chair and runs around the clubhouse.

“Now that’s SEC football,” Pierre exclaims.

Hudson then talks about Pac-10 football being nothing more than flag football.

Pierre grabs the LSU helmet sitting on top of the players’ mailboxes and puts in on.

Once LSU made the final interception to seal the game, the three players ran out of the clubhouse to start batting practice.

Dodger fans: this is your team that’s in a season high five-game funk.

So for whatever silly naïve reason, I’m still clinging on to the hope the Dodgers will win one stinking game to clinch the NL West and the best record in National League en route to their seventh World Series title.

Manager Joe Torre is optimistic also.

“They’re not afraid of anything,” Torre said of his club’s disposition. “I’m sensing they’ll be ready to play in the playoffs. For all our egos and confidence, winning a couple of games here couldn’t hurt.”

But even with Torre’s confidence, the problem of Manny less than 24 hours removed for his golden sombrero performance hangs on his mind.

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“I thought he was forcing it a little bit,” Torre said. “He’s gotten a little long with his swing.

“He’s got a lot of responsibility. What happened last year, coming over here, what he’s meant to this club and what he continues to mean to this club - he’s trying to be the same guy all the time. He’s a good teammate. He does all his work. He does all that stuff, and I think sometimes he just puts too much pressure on himself.

“He’s fighting it right now.”

As for tonight, the Dodgers will face Jorge de la Rosa. De la Rosa has a 5.74 ERA against the Dodgers mostly due to a costly seven-run fourth inning in Denver on May 25.

With that Torre will be sitting down Andre Ethier for the game due to his 1-for-11 0.91 batting average performance against de la Rosa.

Ronnie Belliard will be able to pinch hit and stay in the game according to Torre. Belliard had been suffering from a strained groin since Sunday.

The only remaining question is who will manage the game tomorrow?

It’s tradition for Joe Torre to allow veterans manage and coach the team on the final game of the season if it ends up being inconsequential. Last season Nomar Garciaparra managed the team with Mark Sweeney as bench coach and Tanyon Sturtze as pitching coach.

When asked if he would have the players manage tomorrow Torre said, “Sure, even more so than they do now?”

If you lose?

“That may be a good idea too.

“I haven’t really given it a lot of thought. One of my coaches asked me the other day. I thought about it a little bit. If we win we’ll have that happen.”

Even if they lose tonight and tomorrow, Torre believes his team deserves a champagne shower.

“These son of a guns, they deserve to get each other wet,” he said. “I still think they’re entitled to one.”

Colorado Rockies

  1. Carlos Gonzalez, CF
  2. Ryan Spilborghs, LF
  3. Todd Helton, 1B
  4. Troy Tulowitzki, SS
  5. Garrett Atkins, 3B
  6. Chris Iannetta, C
  7. Brad Hawpe, RF
  8. Clint Barmes, 2B
  9. Jorge de la Rosa, P

LA Dodgers

  1. Rafael Furcal, SS
  2. Juan Pierre, CF
  3. Matt Kemp, RF
  4. Manny Ramirez, LF
  5. Casey Blake, 3B
  6. James Loney, 1B
  7. Orlando Hudson, 2B
  8. Russell Martin, C
  9. Clayton Kershaw, P