Perhaps no team in the history of baseball has ever been as balls-to-the-wall aggressive over the course of both trade deadlines as the Los Angeles Dodgers were this season. The Dodgers’ new ownership, a group including Laker legend Magic Johnson, didn’t even flinch at the thought of picking up $300 million plus worth of player contracts if it meant a shot at immediately competing this season. Shane Victorino, Joe Blanton, Hanley Ramirez, Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett, Nick Punto, and Carl Crawford’s contract were all added to the roster mid-season in the hopes of giving LA the offense and starting pitching depth that manager Don Mattingly would need to make the playoffs.
Well thus far the high-priced replacements have, for the most part, stunk up the joint, going 8-13 since August 25th, the day of Adrian Gonzalez’s first game in Dodger blue. That isn’t to say the Dodgers won’t make the playoffs, because they’re 1 game out after splitting a 4 game set with St. Louis, but unless the newcomers, and Matt Kemp for that matter, start playing a little better, Los Angeles isn’t going anywhere.
With so many quality ball clubs in Major League baseball, the margin of error for a team is razor thin. Make a great play or shift into the proper position and you can steal a couple of extra runs and a couple of extra ballgames. Lose your focus for even just one second, and the game can treat you harshly, rewarding you with bitter losses that can come back to bite you in the ass by the end of the season. The Dodgers have suffered two of the such losses in consecutive days at the hands of the San Diego Padres, and because of a few mental lapses, LA now trails the Giants by a game and a half. Let’s break down the mistakes the Dodgers made, and take a look at how San Diego was literally able to steal a pair of wins.
Last night’s Battle of Los Angeles was quite the interesting little 3-2 affair for a number of reasons. With the game tied 2-2 in the top of the 9th, the Angels’ Albert Pujols singled home Mike Trout to give them the lead. Ernesto Frieri was able to shut the door in the 9th to keep the red-hot Angels rolling. Here are some of my more random thoughts and observations from watching the game last night: