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After a near no-hitter from Derek Lowe last night, the Dodgers suddenly find themselves just five games back of the Padres. Last week, we said the Dodgers should be sellers before the trade deadline. But we might have to take a mulligan. With five days before the trade deadline, giving up with just a five-game deficit would probably wreck the psyche of a franchise already walking a public relations tightrope. The public and the media might understand trading away Jeff Weaver and Jeff Kent with an eight-game deficit, but not five. The Padres have looked so horrible lately, that it's possible the Dodgers are just one or two decent additions away from backing into the playoffs. And when you get into the playoffs, anything can happen.

In reality, we think the Dodgers are going to make the kind of talent for talent deal that they made last year. Clearly there are some problems with this team, and maybe Paul DePodesta can be creative to solve them. We're wondering if Antonio Perez is being shopped, considering his inability to play any position.

The Dodgers could use outfield help, with JD Drew out for the forseeable future, so the Azul should be targeting guys like Matt Lawton, Randy Winn, and Adam Dunn (if the Reds actually want to deal him). They also need to find a first baseman because Hee Seop Choi is not the answer. Is Mike Sweeney the answer? And with Eric Gagne out for the season, it's probably a good idea to bring in some bullpen help. It doesn't have to be a closer. The Dodgers could acquire a setup guy for Yhencey Brazoban. Or they can look into trading for an Eddie Guardado or Danys Baez.

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Regardless, thanks to a horrible the division, the Dodgers are still in the race, and that means they have no choice, but to behave like a playoff contender before the deadline.