Have a Lot of Coffee on Hand For This Weekend

So look, here’s the deal. The Dodgers have been awful the last week in getting swept in Philadelphia and Washington. They suck right now, and they don’t deserve to make the playoffs. I know it. You know it. By all rights, they ought to be 12 games back of the division lead and making October vacation plans. I don’t think any of us disagree with that.

But what I think has been somewhat lost in the depression over how foul the Dodgers are is the fact that Arizona isn’t really any good, either. Sure, the Dodgers just got swept by the worst team in baseball. But Arizona just got swept by a team with only two more wins than Washington, the Padres – so it’s not like the Blue are exactly walking into a buzzsaw this weekend. You think the Dodgers offense is weak right now? Arizona scored in just three of the twenty-seven innings they played in San Diego. Not only can neither team hit, they both have excellent pitching, so expect to see a total of about 8 runs combined over the three games.

Let’s not kid ourselves, though – this is the entire season right here. The Dodgers don’t neccessarily have to sweep (not with another series at home vs. the D-Backs in September), but they simply cannot lose any more ground. That means that if they don’t take two out of three in this series… we can all pack up and go home. With that in mind…

Friday: Hiroki Kuroda vs Doug Davis
Advantage: Dodgers. Davis has been pretty lousy over the last month, putting up a 7.50 ERA in 5 starts, while Kuroda’s been outstanding, posting a 2.50 ERA and a superb 25/5 K/BB ratio. I hate to say it, but this is the single most important game of the entire season right here, because it’s the only one where the Dodgers have a good advantage on the mound. If they blow this, they face the nearly impossible task of having to take down both Dan Haren and Brandon Webb. Basically, win tonight, or kiss 2008 goodbye. Is that too much pressure?

Saturday: Chad Billingsley vs Dan Haren
Advantage: Push. Talk about a marquee pitching matchup! We’re talking about two of the best young pitchers in baseball here, and they’ve nearly got the same ERA (3.16 to 3.10). However, Haren’s been lousy over the last month (5.29 ERA). But who are we kidding. This game, by every standard, should be 0-0 in the 10th inning. That said, my money’s on a 12-10 slugfest.

Sunday: Derek Lowe vs Brandon Webb.
Advantage: D-Backs. Yeah, this is where it gets a little difficult. Webb is almost certainly going to win the NL Cy Young Award this year, and if he gets the win on Sunday that’d be his 20th against only 5 losses. Really, the only hope the Dodgers have here is that Webb was bombed in his last start out (6 ER in 4.2 IP) against the Padres, who have an offense nearly as bad as LA does. As for Lowe, he’s been his typical Lowe self. His ERA’s in his 4 years in LA are 3.61, 3.63, 3.88, and 3.81 so far this season. Talk about consistency, but there’s no way he matches up with Webb.

So there it is. Win tonight. There’s no bigger game on the schedule.

- Mike Scioscia’s tragic illness msti-face.jpg