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LAst Night's Action: Dodgers Sweep Brewers

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LA Dodgers defeat Milwaukee Brewers 7-1. The fear was that with Manny Ramirez sitting for a day game after a night game, the streaking Dodgers would ground to a halt. It really looked that way with the Dodgers holding the slim 2-1 lead after five innings until Casey Blake belted a two-run homer off of Brewers’ starter Yovani Gallardo (L, 11-6) in the sixth inning. The Dodgers capitalized on the Brewers generosity in the seventh inning with RBI singles by Ryan Theriot and Reed Johnson with another run scoring thanks to a wild pitch by the hard running reliever Todd Coffey. This marks the Dodgers’ first sweep since they swept the Giants on June 28-30. With Chad Billingsley’s right calf still bothering him, Carlos Monasterios made the spot start going 4 1/3 innings giving up a run on Prince Fielder’s solo blast in the fourth inning that tied the game. Thanks to the Dodgers offense Ronald Belisario (W, 2-1) got the win.

NOTABLE NOTES

Dodgers Back In It. On September 16, 2007 the Colorado Rockies trailed the San Diego Padres by 4 ½ games and the Philadelphia Phillies and Los Angeles Dodgers by three games in the wild card chase. Mired in a three-game losing streak, the Rockies then won 14 for the final 15 regular season games including the one-game playoff against the Padres for the wild card to make it to the postseason sweeping their way to the World Series.

As of right now the Dodgers trail the San Francisco Giants by five games for the wild card. The Philadelphia Phillies, St. Louis Cardinals and Colorado Rockies also stand in their way to make the playoffs. I’ll admit that the dreams of winning a third consecutive NL West division title are far-fetched with the Padres leading the Dodgers by 11 games, but there is still a shot for the Dodgers to make things interesting en route to a possible third consecutive October.

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A lot of what happens by the so-called postseason roster deadline on August 31 will depend on this upcoming series against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field. After the non-waiver trade deadline of July 31, any player involved in a transaction between teams must do so via the waiver wire which is often more secretive than Dick Cheney meetings. Additionally in order for a player to be on a team’s playoff roster he must be on the active 25-man roster by the end of August 31.

News leaked earlier this week that the Dodgers put Manny Ramirez, Scott Podsednik, Casey Blake and Jay Gibbons on the waiver wire. Of course there is talk going around that this is a sign that general manager Ned Colletti is waving the white flag on the season trying to get as many prospects to bolster the team for the future.

Well what needs to be said is that almost everyone is on the waiver wire right now. The Yankees have been known to put Derek Jeter on the waiver wire in August past. All this does is allow a team to gauge how much interest there is in a player.

The Dodgers still need Ramirez in the lineup. Although he doesn’t have that same pop as he did two years ago, he still poses a threat that puts the fear of God in opposing pitchers which allows the rest of the lineup, most notably Andre Ethier, to flourish. It’s a small sample size, but since Ramirez has come off the disabled list on Saturday the Dodgers are 3-0 in games he has started with a notable improvement in offense.

If the Dodgers win two of the three games in Colorado, they will probably not be sending anyone off via waivers. However if they lose two of three it becomes a much different proposition.

By the way, how weird is it to think of the Dodgers as playoff contenders? I have to admit writing off the Dodgers. Since the All Star break, it was Sisyphean feat for the Dodgers to string two wins in a row. They were injured left and right: Manny Ramirez’s right calf; Reed Johnson’s back; Russell Martin’s hip; Rafael Furcal’s back; Jeff Weaver’s right knee; Vicente Padilla’s neck. But whether something clicked in the offense (aka Ramirez’s return to the lineup) or the Milwaukee Brewers are really an awful team, they seemed to have snapped back into life right before our eyes.

TONIGHT’S ACTION

LA Dodgers (66-62) at Colorado Rockies (66-60). Clayton Kershaw (11-8, 3.07 ERA) vs. Ubaldo Jimenez (17-4, 2.66 ERA). 6:10 pm FS Prime Ticket, AM 790 KABC.

Baltimore Orioles (45-83) at LA Angels (63-65). Brad Bergesen (5-9, 5.84 ERA) vs. Trevor Bell (1-3, 5.48 ERA). 7:05 pm FSWest, AM 830 KLAA.