The Dodgers lost a game.
The end is not near, the sky is not falling, Wall Street will not collapse and In-N-Out will still make Double-Doubles. The only difference is that instead of being 43-8 since June 22, the Dodgers are 42-9 and are still playing an absolutely insane .823 baseball.
We will survive this crisis.
In the 130-year history of baseball, no team has won ‘em all, and no team ever will. Hall of Fame manager Tommy Lasorda said it best:
In any given season a team’s ultimate goal is to try to win every three or four-game series. If they are fortunate enough to do so they will win approximately 108 games. Realistically this is a bit much to ask for, as it is nearly impossible to accomplish. To compensate for those series not won, a team can gain ground by sweeping an occasional series throughout the season which, of course, is exactly what the Dodgers have done since Liberation Day (June 22, 2013).
Although Sunday’s 3-2 loss to the Phillies dropped the Dodgers lead over the Diamondbacks in the NL West from 8.5 games to 7.5 games (the D-backs beat the Pirates), the Dodgers have two things going for them. First, they begin a four-game series tonight against the 47-74 Marlins in South Florida; and second, they have not lost two consecutive games since June 20-21. That being said, the Dodgers cannot relax or expect the Marlins to simply rollover. Although it isn’t much, the Marlins are trying desperately to avoid ending the season with the worst record in the National League and they currently trail the Cubs by only six games in this regard. As such, you can pretty much count on the Marlins to give everything they’ve got to beat the Dodgers.
There is something else to keep in mind about the upcoming series against the Marlins – they have a pitching rotation that is a lot better than their 47-74 record reflects. In fact, the series kicks off tonight with two of the league’s top Rookie of the Year candidates squaring off against one another – Hyun-jin Ryu and his 2.91 ERA (8th best in the NL) and Jose Fernandez and his 2.45 ERA (3rd best). The Dodgers then face Jacob Turner (2.89 ERA – but not enough innings pitched to be in the running for the ERA title), former Dodger Nathan Eovaldi (3.96 ERA) and Henderson Alvarez (3.41 ERA). The Dodgers will counter with Chris Capuano (4.66 ERA), Zack Greinke (3.02 ERA) and Clayton Kershaw (1.80 ERA – best in all of baseball).
Beginning tonight the Dodgers have twelve series remaining including eight against NL West teams. If they can win most of them (especially those eight), the Dodgers stand a very good chance of finishing the season with the best record in all of baseball, which would give them home field advantage in the Division Series and (hopefully) the League Championship Series.
It’s all about winning series…
…especially the very last one.