Dodgers Making Bid for Wild Card

Shawn Tolleson and the rest of the Los Angeles Dodgers pitching staff could be the difference in the team making the playoffs. Photo: Dennis J. Freeman

Los Angeles—Despite the Los Angeles Dodgers latest poor performance, postseason hopes is still alive. It’s been a brutal month for the Los Angeles Dodgers falling 7 ½ games behind the San Francisco Giants for the NL West division lead. But even with their offensive woes, they still manage to gain ground trailing only one-game behind the St. Louis Cardinals to win the wild card spot.

After a day off on Monday they will start a nine-game road trip on Tuesday. They have 15 games remaining and will probably have to win at least twelve games to secure the wild card spot. With all the additions they’ve made, we have yet to see the real identity of this team. If we evaluated the Dodgers today, we would say they have one of the best rosters in the league.

But again, when it comes to sports anything is bound to happen.

“You know this is baseball and unfortunately every team hits a road bump,” Matt Kemp said. “Unfortunately we just hit it at the wrong time, but we still have a chance to make the playoffs.”

But before we start criticizing the boys in blue we have to acknowledge the fact that they still have a shot to play baseball in October. As of lately, they’ve not been too impressive when it comes to winning games. But we can’t overlook the fact that they have put themselves in a position to compete for a wild card spot in the NL West. One of the main reasons the Dodgers have gotten side tracked is because their leader Matt Kemp isn’t healthy.

Kemp missed time last month after crashing into the wall at Coors field bruising his back. Although he’s out there trying to help his team, you can tell something is bothering him physically; he just doesn’t look comfortable with his at-bats. But if you know Kemp you know that he wants to play, and it doesn’t faze him if people talk about how poorly he’s swinging the bat.

I think he’s been in the business long enough to know that people are going to talk about you whether you’re doing good or bad. I’m sure he’s also aware that his presence alone can have an effect on the game even if he’s struggling at the plate. And in Saturday’s game he made a play on the field that had every one at the Dodger Stadium in a daze, even the media folks in the press box.

The Dodgers were on the version of yet another loss, trailing the Cardinals 3-2 in the bottom of the ninth. Cardinals Catcher Yadier Molina blasted a flying ball to centerfield that Kemp was unable to get his hands on right away. But somehow he got to the ball in a timely manner and was able to throw what appeared to be a bullet, to Dodgers third baseman Luis Cruz who was able to tag out Molina as he sprinted his way to third.

Kemp has had plenty of mouth-dropping defensive plays, but this has to be the best one out there. It was so unbelievable it nearly left Dodgers Manager Don Mattingly teary eyed when asked about Kemp’s play.

“You talk about great players, you talk about a lot of ways to win the game,” Mattingly said. “It really chokes me up. That’s total not wanting to lose.”

We have yet to see the Dodgers go on a massive winning streak since acquiring players before the trade deadline. But what we do know is they have multiple playmakers on their team that can produce offensively and defensively. Hopefully having to compete in the midst of playoff contention the Dodgers bats will begin to wake up.

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