Dodgers Are Close to Clinching Yet Cold as Ever


Zack Greinke (14-3, 2.74) vs. Patrick Corbin (14-6, 2.92)


Puig RF

M. Ellis 2B

Ramirez SS

Gonzalez 1B

Kemp CF

Uribe 3B

Van Slyke  LF

A.J. Ellis C

Greinke P

After a loss in the series opener at Chase Field on Monday night, the Dodgers have now lost 9 of their last 11 games. The stifled offense and lack of hitting with runners on base has plagued the team for quite awhile now. The Dodgers have lost four in a row. Even though Hyun-jin Ryu only allowed two hits over eight innings of work (his only mistake was a two-run homer to Paul Goldschmidt), the Dodgers could only muster one run against Trevor Cahill and company in Arizona. The Dodgers *Magic Number remains 4* where it has stood for several days now. The Dodgers need only to win two games during this series with Arizona to put a bow on the NL West. Yet nothing is clinched yet, and it seems as if the inevitable is perpetually just out of their reach. My champagne is getting flat over here.

Matt Kemp strikes out to end the game on Monday. Photo: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

Matt Kemp made a cameo in the top of the ninth inning with two outs on Monday. Kemp, whose batting stance looked more crouched down, ended up striking out swinging. I’d love for Kemp to turn Beast Mode back on for these last two weeks and propel the Dodgers across the finish line with some momentum, but I’m afraid that might not happen like I have daydreamed about. Kemp, who has had a injury riddled season, is far from sharp. He may be able to use these last few games in order to gain confidence and timing before the postseason roster is decided, but he most likely will not be the 2011 Kemp all of a sudden.

The Dodgers will need Hanley Ramirez, Andre Ethier, and Carl Crawford if they want to make a run in the postseason. They may even have to play a little banged up. Taking Hanley’s spark of a bat out of the lineup really affects the construction of the lineup and the offensive output. Adrian Gonzalez went 0-for-4 on the night in game one, and even the reliable Gonzo is feeling the effects of the long season. Scott Van Slyke has soreness in his ribs, which is an injury I was not privy to. It’s hard to keep up with all this soreness and rustiness.

Zack Greinke wasn’t involved in the decisions of his last two starts, although he kept

Patrick Corbin has pitched successfully against the Dodgers this season.

the Dodgers in both games with only 3 runs combined in those starts. Against the Giants last Thursday, Greinke pitched 6 innings while allowing 1 run on 4 hits with 5 strikeouts and 2 walks. He allowed just one run on of course a Hunter Pence homerun. But then again every Dodger pitcher allowed a homerun to Hunter Pence during the four-game series. In his career, Greinke is 1-3 with a 5.66 ERA against the D-backs in 7 starts. The right-hander is 1-0 with a 1.29 ERA against the Snakes this season in 2 starts.

Patrick Corbin will be taking the mound for Arizona in game two. Like Greinke, the left-hander will be vying for his 15th win on the season. The left-hander is having a very successful sophomore season with the D-backs. He has pitched 3 complete games, and he will have pitched 200 innings in just 3 more frames of work. The Dodgers saw Corbin back in April, and Patrick picked up the win by pitching a three-hit shutout over 6 innings. Corbin started against the Dodgers for a second time in June at Dodger Stadium. He wasn’t involved in the decision, but the Snakes won even though he allowed 4 runs on 8 hits in 5 innings. September 11th was the third time the Dodgers countered Corbin, and once again he won. He allowed 1 run on 8 hits in 6 1/3 innings. Corbin has an overall 3-1 record with a 2.27 ERA in his career against the Dodgers. He is 2-0 at Dodger Stadium with a 2.60 mark in 3 starts. Yasiel Puig hit a homerun against Corbin in their last meeting, but Matt Treanor was the last Dodger to go deep against him prior to Puig back in 2012.

The Dodgers seem to be stuck. Stuck at 86 wins. The Red Sox have already collected 92. Every loss makes it more certain that the Dodgers will be starting off the NLDS in Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, or St. Louis. Home field advantage is slipping away. The Dodgers need to pick up the pieces and try to close the deal. I’d feel a lot better about Chili Buss starting in right field if the Dodgers had already won the division.

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Go Blue!