MLB News and Notes

MLB NEWS: Dodgers Paper Bags and the Phillies, Possibly?

9/16/12 in MLB   |   This_is_Rick   |   265 respect

Matt Kemp's crash into the wall, again, followed by a pure hustle play against the Cardinals last night was a perfect short-film for what has been the Dodgers season; fans gasped with fear - thinking back to the incident at Colorado - then, only seconds later, they found themselves cheering with awe as Kemp managed to throw out a slow, Yadier Molina, attempting to stretch the play into a triple. The Cardinals were up 3-2 at that point so as quickly as the elated emoticon swept over Chavez Ravine, it was taken away with worry headed into the bottom of the 9th. Several clutch hits later, and the fans were back on their feet, reaching for the closest paper bag or Xanax to calm the nerves. Up and down, up and down, up and down - down or up? So goes the Dodgers season of 2012. They have managed to hang on in September and they still have a chance to sneak into a Wild Card spot. Yay! Shouts the Dodgers faithful - 200-plus million was worth the expense account and possible maxed-out credit cards. 
Sept.15, 2012; Los Angeles, CA, USA;  Los Angeles Dodgers center fielder Matt Kemp (27) throws out St. Louis Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina (not pictured) at third base in the ninth inning at Dodger Stadium. Dodgers won 4-3. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-US PRESSWIRE

Then comes news of Clayton Kershaw's sore hip, again as well, and the five men left to fill the void during crunch time. Oh no, not again! Cries the Dodgers faithful. I guess the answer would be, down.
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The Dodgers have 16 games left to make up ground in the Wild Card - the Division is out of the question. At best, with Kershaw scratched from his next start, he will take the mound two more times for the season. Most likely, he will pitch against the Rockies and Giants towards the end, but that is only on paper. Undoubtedly, there is reason to worry for the club - a sore hip is serious. Risking a Cy-Young winner's future for the sake of now may get Magic and the boys in more hot water with fans than if they sit him for the rest of the season - which may be ending sooner than expected.

With the absence of Kershaw, the pressure to win is left on the shoulders of Beckett, Blanton, Harang, Capuano and Fife. It's not worth throwing out fancy statistical theories and equations in an attempt to show what most already know; it's going to take all five of these guys, pitching at their best, to win games. Unfortunately, pitching at their best is not a strong suit for any of them. The Dodgers line-up is still solid and timely hitting can keep them close, however, it's impossible to consistently win when your are already down four or five runs before even stepping to plate. Get out the paper bags Dodgers fans, you will need a breather. The Reds, Nationals, streaking Padres, upset-happy Rockies and Giants are awaiting the battle, drooling over a chance to get a look at a hanging-curve by Beckett or a slow-fastball down the middle from Blanton. Trust me.

Calling out my own predictions.

Don't scribble it if you can't take the eraser. I previously wrote an article that predicted Buster Posey would be a long-shot to win the N.L. MVP. While I knew he was performing well, the team - post Melky - seemed ready to collapse and Posey, being the only hitter that can hurt you, would not see a fastball the rest of the year. Man, was I wrong - I feel like the guy who thought the Titanic wouldn't sink. As it turns out, Posey is having a titanic September, leading his team, post juicy-juice, to the Divisional Crown in the west. It's impressive enough, and definitely worthy of article-retraction. Buster, meet Rick. Rick, meet Buster - The N.L. MVP. Hello!
Sep. 15, 2012; Phoenix, AZ, USA; San Francisco Giants infielder Buster Posey (28) hits a two run home run against the Arizona Diamondbacks in the fifth inning at Chase Field. Mandatory Credit: Jennifer Stewart-US PRESSWIRE


Both college and NFL football are always primed for upsets. It's a thrill thrived on by every underdog. That's what makes it so interesting - you never know. After following some of the crazy games in the NCAA yesterday, I began to ponder and scratch over what team would be considered an upset this year in the MLB. What team, though not expected to make the playoffs, has enough in the tank and the team chemistry to surprise us all? Then, it hit me - like a ton of cheese steak sandwiches. The Philadelphia Phillies would be the upset of the season if they were to make the playoffs this year. A feat that would leave the baseball world - not just the Phillies - in complete shock. And it's not as far-fetched as you would think. They are only three games out of the Wild Card, and don't tell me for a second they don't have the arms to win games. This was the same team picked to win it all this year based on that very fact. Their remaining schedule is loaded with the Nationals and the Braves - two teams that are ahead of them in the Division and the Wild Card, so if they can find any offense at all, the pitching of Halladay and Hamels could be enough to make the impossible, possible - Charlie Manuel would have to borrow a paper bag from Dodgers fans because the overwhelming excitement. No worries Chuck, they got you. But, it could happen. It would be the MLB version of the NCAA upset.
September 15, 2012; Houston, TX, USA; Philadelphia Phillies manager Charlie Manuel (41) smiles before a game against the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-US PRESSWIRE

Then again, I may have to retract my prediction next week. then I would be upset.

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