Dodgers in a mess of their own doing; division title in doubt

(Via)

The Dodgers have certainly gotten themselves into quite a mess. A short week ago, they had swept the Rockies and moved 2 1/2 games into first place and the division looked like a foregone conclusion — 96.8 percent chance of winning the division, according to FanGraphs. Now, that percentage is down to basically a coin flip between them and the Rockies — 53.9 percent to 46.1 percent — thanks to losing 2-of-3 to the previously reeling Diamondbacks and the Rockies winning seven in a row.

The odds of them capturing the second Wild Card spot (barf) is 92.5 percent, as the Cardinals sit a game behind the Dodgers at present. But for a team that had, at minimum, an expectation of a sixth consecutive division title to be playing for the final spot (that really shouldn’t exist, imo) to have the privilege of playing a 1-game playoff really sucks.

Oh, and the Dodgers finish out the regular season with a 3-gamer against the Giants, a team that would love nothing more than to prevent the Dodgers from making the postseason. Meanwhile, the Cardinals are going up against the Cubs, who will be playing for the NL Central title (up 1/2 game against the Brewers) and to not have to play in the Wild Card game. The stakes this weekend could not be any higher for the Brewers, Cardinals, Cubs, Rockies and Dodgers.

——

Allan just got done detailing how the Dodgers ended up competing for a playoff spot in a 3part series after a poor start to the season. And despite having a +170 run differential (4th-best in baseball), they’re looking up at the Rockies, which are going for a sweep of the plummeting Phillies.

The offense didn’t do enough. The bullpen gave it up. The starting pitching faltered. Every facet of the game has failed the Dodgers at multiple times this season, and especially in the last week.

This has been the most frustrating season for the Dodgers in a couple decades. Yeah, 2005 was abject failure, 2009 was brutal and 2014 was maddening, but none were nearly as frustrating as this one. Even if expectations were a tad high because of last season’s 104 wins, the thought was the Dodgers would’ve had this thing locked up by now. Instead, they’re fighting for a postseason berth against inferior teams — no disrespect meant toward the Rockies or Cardinals … they just don’t have as much talent as the Dodgers do. But they have played better, all things considered, than the Dodgers have for more of the season.

When the Dodgers lost Tuesday night against the D’backs — after mounting a comeback two separate times — they lost control of their own destiny. That game was one they win last year and, in the last 10 or so days, seemed like a game they should have won. Last night’s game was just a gut punch to follow up the left-hook Eduardo Escobar dealt them on Tuesday. Even if the Dodgers win out, the Rockies control their destiny.

Now, we as fans and the team itself is having to root for Jake Arrieta (today’s starter for Philadelphia) against the Rockies and the supremely underachieving Nationals (and future Dodger Bryce Harper?), who the Rockies host this weekend.

——

This whole “stressful September” ahead of a “stressful October” isn’t something Dodger fans have been accustomed to in recent years. October is stressful enough. Here’s hoping we look back on Monday and laugh at this article, which has been a bit of a running theme for yours truly this season.

Just win and pray for a Rockies’ stumble or two.

About Dustin Nosler

Dustin Nosler
Dustin Nosler began writing about the Dodgers in July 2009 at his blog, Feelin' Kinda Blue. He co-hosts a weekly podcast with Jared Massey called Dugout Blues. He is a contributor/editor at The Hardball Times. He graduated from California State University, Sacramento, with his bachelor’s degree in journalism and a minor in digital media. While at CSUS, he worked for the student-run newspaper The State Hornet for three years, culminating with a 1-year term as editor-in-chief. He resides in Stockton, Calif.