Monday, July 07, 2008

Post-Game 89 Thread: So This Is What First Place Feels Like

I'm not usually a fan of identifying turning points in a season, but it's hard to overlook tonight. Hiroki Kuroda topped his recent complete-game four-hitter against the Cubs by nearly throwing a perfect game against a Braves lineup that included Chipper Jones and Mark Teixeira. (Score one for Ned Colletti.)

Kuroda's eventual 91-pitch complete-game one-hitter put the Dodgers in first place (tied with the Diamondbacks) for the first time since April 6. This recent three-month stretch of second-place mediocrity demonstrates that even a crippled Dodger team is capable of winning the weakest division in baseball (the NL Worst, the mild mild West...whatever you want to call it).

But it's also highly unlikely any NL West team will make the World Series. (Barring a miraculous Dodger run, I'm rooting for the Rays versus the Cubs.) And for anything short of the World Series, I'm not willing to lose, say, Matt Kemp. Especially since there are no truly desirable shortstops available via trade, in-house solutions and minor trades should set us up for a run at the playoffs and allow us to field a competitive team chock full of homegrown talent for years to come.

Oh, and it would really help if Nomar Garciaparra could stay healthy at shortstop. Is that too much to ask?

photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images