With last week's three-game series sweep by the Los Angeles Dodgers over the San Francisco Giants, things are looking pretty good for the Boys in Blue. For LA's other team, though, not so much. Both the Dodgers and the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, California made the playoffs last year, but if the dream for a freeway World Series is to live on in 2015, the Orange County guys need some wins.
Tonight in Anaheim, the Dodgers took game one of the three-game series 7-5, and while that gives the Dodgers an 8˝-game lead over the plummeting San Francisco Giants, the Angels are about to have to reach for the rip cord themselves. The Halos are in third place in the American League West, 5˝ games behind the Houston Astros. They are 3˝ behind the Texas Rangers for the second wild card spot, and also have the Minnesota Twins two games ahead of them. Manager Mike Scioscia may be seeing red right now, and not from his team's uniforms.
Of course, that being said, the Dodgers and Dodger fans aren't actually going to root for the Angels. After this series, maybe, but not during. Zach Greinke gave up two home runs tonight amd Albert Pujols got three hits, but the Cy Young front runner still got the victory. Clayton Kershaw goes tomorrow—meaning the Angels have to clobber Mat Latos on Wednesday, which is certainly likely. And, while, trying to 'Beat LA', scoreboard watching the Astros, Rangers, and Twins.
A Dodger sweep would almost knock out the Angels, something Don Mattingly's crew was somehow able to do at home against the Giants last week. Sometimes you have to wonder, but maybe the Dodger skipper knows what he's doing. He set his three best pitchers against the Giants, and won a 14-inning game, then back-to-back 2-1 contests with Greinke and Kershaw. Donnie Baseball did burn his third catcher in the eighth inning Monday night, forcing Kershaw to pinch hit later on, but it worked. Batting the pitcher eighth is really not a great idea despite what Tony LaRussa and Joe Maddon think, but maybe the exception is when you have pitchers like Greinke and Madison Bumgarner who can actually swing it. Both batted eighth Tuesday, and Bumgarner doubled.
And while maybe those suddenly silent Giants fans may think the Dodgers got lucky, San Francisco has lost eight of their last ten, and are 7-14 since August 17. They are 8˝ games behind the Dodgers in the NL west, nine games back of the Cubs for the second wild card, and have even fallen behind the Washington Nationals in the wild card race now. The Giants may be officially eliminated by the Dodgers in San Francisco at the end of the month, but LA's sweep pretty much spells the end. The Angels could see the same fate, even though that would also kill a possible freeway series.
San Diego treat: Saturday's Dodgers-Padres game was the mlb.tv free game of the day, meaning you could watch it on your computer without a subscription. You could also pick which broadcast you wanted to watch, so knowing there was no Vin Scully on the Dodger side, I chose to watch and listen to Padres play-by-play man Dick Enberg instead of Charley Steiner and know-it-alls Orel Hershiser and Nomar Garciaparra. We didn't get a “touch 'em all” out of Enberg, but he doled out a few “oh mys”. If broadcasting major league baseball in your hometown is retirement, sign me up!
Gold (Sox) nuggets: No recent news from the new Great West League which the Marysville Gold Sox have recently joined, but there are some notes from the major league front. Cody Anderson out-pitched Justin Verlander Sunday, pitching seven shutout innings and allowing two hits. Cleveland beat Detroit 4-0...Max Stassi was the starting catcher for the Houston Astros today at the Oakland Coliseum today and got a hit. Not only is Oakland closest to his home town of Yuba City, but the A's are also the organization that drafted him.
Human Resources Department: ESPN had a 'B' crew for the Sunday Night Baseball telecast of Pittsburgh at St. Louis. Fill-in play-by-play guy Jon Sciambi explained that Dan Shulman would be back next week and analyst John Kruk was under the weather, but made no mention at all of Curt Schilling, who apparently is still suspended because of a tweet that compared Muslims to Nazis. Aaron Boone filled in for Kruk, and Jessica Mendoza sat in for Schilling for the second week in a row...If you get fired from ESPN, maybe you can get a job at Dodgers flagship radio station KLAC (570). Dan Patrick is the morning man, and the station has announced it's adding Colin Cowherd this week. Cowherd was dismissed earlier this summer by the worldwide leader for making negative comments about Dominicans in baseball. Cowherd's show will follow Patrick's beginning tomorrow...If Schilling finds his way to KLAC, maybe Keith Olbermann will too. The 'big giant head' has been fired by ESPN. Again. His ESPN2 show called 'Olbermann', has been canceled.