Dodgers Hone in On Division Crown as They Go For Sweep of Snakes


Hyun-jin Ryu (13-5, 3.02) vs. Patrick Corbin


Puig RF

Punto 2B

Ramirez SS

Gonzalez 1B

Young 3B

Van Slyke LF

A.J. Ellis C

Schumaker CF

Ryu P

85 wins and counting. After a walk-off win in the bottom of the eleventh inning thanks to a Scott Van Slyke pinch-hit  two-run homerun on Tuesday night, the Dodgers *Magic Number is 6*. They now have a commanding 13 game lead on the division,

Scott Van Slyke is doused with Gatorade by his teammates after his game-winning homerun in the bottom of the 11th inning on Tuesday night. Photo: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

and the San Diego Padres are teetering on elimination with one game to go before they are knocked out. Arizona has a day off on Thursday, so the earliest the Dodgers could clinch is this Saturday versus the Giants.

Hyun-jin Ryu hasn’t started since August 30th against San Diego where he picked up his 13th victory. He had some back stiffness, and Chris Capuano (who subsequently left the start early with a groin strain) filled in for his last scheduled start. Ryu should be good to go for his start on Wednesday night for the series finale with the Snakes. We will need a healthy Ryu for the postseason rotation since Ryu has been a solid contributor in this just his first season in the Majors. Last start vs. the Padres, Ryu allowed 1 run on 8 hits with 6 strikeouts and a walk in 6 1/3 innings of work. Ryu also hit his third double of the season in the game and brought in a run on a butt flopping slide into home which could have contributed to his back pains. The southpaw has been very good at home this season, and he is sporting a 7-2 record with a 2.07 ERA at Dodger Stadium in 13 starts. The 26-year old is 1-0 against the D-backs in 3 starts against them this year and has a 5.82 ERA in those games. He pitched well against the Snakes in his third game of the season back in April, but he had some trouble against them in June and July. He allowed a homerun to Aaron Hill on July 10th.

Patrick Corbin will try to stave off the sweep in the series finale on Wednesday night.

Lefty Patrick Corbin will be heading to the mound for Arizona. The 24-year old in his sophomore year is 2-1 against the Dodgers in his career with a 2.49 ERA. He’s made two starts at Dodger Stadium and is 1-0 with a 3.27 ERA in those games. The only Dodger to hit a homerun off Corbin was none other than Matt Treanor back in May of 2012. The Dodgers faced Corbin back on April 12th in Arizona, and Corbin picked up the win. We saw Corbin again on June 12th at Dodger Stadium, and even though Corbin wasn’t involved in the decision the D-backs won the game. In his last start, Corbin lost in San Francisco after allowing 3 runs on 8 hits with 5 strikeouts and a walk through 8 innings pitched. In fact, Corbin has lost his last three starts.

The Dodgers don’t have to deal with Mr. Bean Ball himself Ian Kennedy anymore since the D-backs shipped him off to San Diego, but they still have to put up with the annoying Gerardo Parra, Paul Goldschmidt, and Miguel Montero. Then there’s Kirk Gibson, whom I can never hate. Gibson will always be a Dodger hero, but seeing him in a Arizona cap always gives me a weird feeling. Like Mike Scioscia in an Angels hat, I choose to only think about them wearing Dodger Blue in my mind.

There’s talk that Matt Kemp may return before the end of the season. He reportedly

Hyun-jin Ryu slides into home during his last start against San Diego. Photo: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

had a good rehab session at Camelback Ranch in a simulated game. With the Dodgers closing in on clinching the division, the final week or two of the season could be very interesting. Although Mattingly said he is not aiming for the best record in the N.L. (which is something I feel they should strive for in my opinion), the Dodgers will still have some games to play out before the Division Series barring any unforeseen losing streak this week or so. The Dodgers will have some time to try some new things like playing Dee Gordon at second base or in the outfield. Matt Kemp may get some precious at-bats before Mattingly needs to decide on the postseason roster as well which would be key for him to determine his level of play upon returning.

We will talk about the postseason roster further in subsequent posts, but after Scott Van Slyke’s game winning homerun last night I’m beginning to picture him on the roster for added pop off the bench. SVS can add some much needed power and be able to play first base or outfield if needed. Although Mattingly will have to configure his bench and choose between the shoe-ins like Nick Punto and Skip Schumaker, the decision on SVS or Michael Young could be something to think about. Even though Mattingly will most likely go for Young with his postseason experience, SVS’s punch could be an added weapon to the Dodgers arsenal.

Tune into ESPN or Prime Ticket (for Vin Scully’s call) tonight at 7:10 p.m. for the series finale.

Sweep the Snakes!