The Dodgers Electric Slide
Joe Torre wondering what in high holy hell is going on Friday night. AP Photo/Tom Mihale
This is a familiar road all Dodger fans have been down.
The Dodgers need to play well in all facets of the game down the stretch in order to win the division. The offense, defense, starting pitching and the bullpen all need to be playing well at the same time.
But in the start of this crucial ten-game road trip the Dodgers just can't put things together.
While the euphoria of Manny Ramirez has diminished to a dull roar, the same problems the Dodgers had pre-Manny have reared their ugly head.
In the four game series against the Phillies, the Dodgers were not able to score runs. Repeatedly the Dodgers were able to get runners on base but came up with nothing. Bases loaded and no outs? Nothing. First and third with one out? Nothing.
Compounding the Dodgers problems is the suspect defense played in the series. Repeatedly players were not backing up on plays in the field allowing the Phillies to have their way on the base pads.
If the Dodgers keep this going, then September will come around with the same stomach-churning crash as last season. The same crash that Grady Little presided over.
The Dodgers just seem to be waiting and hoping for a hot streak, but teams that are playoff worthy don't wait and hope. They just do.
Pitchers aren't pitching to Manny anymore, and Casey Blake, Nomar Garciaparra and Russell Martin are in deep slumps right now. The starting pitching really is a crapshoot right now, and once the bullpen enters the game collective breaths are held in anxiety. Are they going to blow it tonight or show you don't fuck with them?
Meanwhile down the I-5, the Angels are also in a bit of a slump. After losing the first two games in a four-game series against the Minnesota Twins, Angels manager Mike Scioscia held a closed door meeting where presumably he told his players to get back to playing fundamental baseball. After being routed 9-0 by the Twins Friday night, the Angels came back to split the series winning 7-5 and 5-3.
But even with the slump thanks to their 5,000 game lead in the AL West, the Angels are just worried about how they prepare for the playoffs. They need to get sharper on offense and shore up their pitching which hasn't been bad but hasn't been as dominant as earlier in the season.
It's just sickening watching that team across the Orange Curtain just go into each game with the determination to do what it takes to win that game. The boys in blue just don't seem to show the same passion. They seem like they just fling shit onto a wall and see what sticks.
As disheartening as the Dodgers have been playing, it's still too early to write them off completely. The Diamondbacks still haven't put away the division and don't seem to be making that move. Losing two of three to the Florida Marlins certainly don't help their cause.
So the Dodgers can still make that push, but their performance in the remaining six games of this road trip will show what the Dodgers are composed of. With three games against the lowly Washington Nationals and three against the Diamondbacks, the Dodgers can't afford to lose one game.
So what will be?