Monday, September 08, 2008

I Can't Explain It, But I Like It

Eight straight losses, including three to the lowly Washington Nationals.

Eight straight wins, including five against the division-leading Diamondbacks, four of which were against their #1 and #2 pitchers.

I am finding this cardiac arrest Dodger team strangely compelling to watch because any outcome along the full spectrum of possible choices seems possible, all at the same time. Jonathan Broxton has two on in a two-run game as he struggles to get his fifth and final out? He's gotta implode again, right? In a game where the Diamondbacks can regain control of first place? No, instead the Dodgers will sweep the series, Broxton's save finalized by a bounding leap from brittle Nomar Garciaparra, who hasn't started in a week.

Wow. What a game. What a series. What a stretch run!

With the Dodgers' playoff odds have ascended from a meager 16% at the beginning of the month to a stratospheric 77% today, it's been a pretty amazing eight days. Torre can't explain it except through cliches:

Broxton hadn't recorded a five-out save since taking over for Takashi Saito as the team's closer shortly after the All-Star break. But with time growing short in the season and every win seemingly more meaningful, Torre knows there's no better time to give his closer the Mariano Rivera treatment.

"They're all important right now," Torre said. "If you have a chance to win a game, you have to take advantage of that and go out there and try to do it -- because you never know what tomorrow is going to bring."

Nomar (in the same article) couldn't have predicted this sudden turn, either:

"That's baseball," Garciaparra said. "You can't explain it. You can't figure it out. If you find somebody who says they can, I'll call them a liar."

Heck, not even Jon Weisman can explain it:

As for the Dodgers, who have made up six games in the standings in nine days, things are going as right now as they were going wrong before. That's not a character transplant. That's baseball.

1.5 games up, 19 to go. I can't explain it, but I can't turn away. We've got some critical road games coming up against sub-par teams (San Diego, Colorado, Pittsburgh), but we're a pretty bad team on the road as well. These next 10 games are going to be nail-biters. Let's go, Dodgers!

UPDATE 11:02a: Whoops, I'm just realizing now that my post sounds an awful lot like Helene Elliott's piece in today's LAT. Apologies, as I had not read Elliott's article until just now. I suppose I can't explain the coincidence, either.


Orel said...

I can't explain
It's Nomar's glove
Saving Broxton's ass
Wearing Dodger Blue