Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Thoughts On The Number Three

The Dodgers have two games remaining at home against San Diego, and the Diamondbacks have two games remaining on the road against St. Louis. In other words, there are four outcomes remaining, before the Dodgers travel to San Francisco for their final series, and the D'backs head home for their final series against Colorado.

Four outcomes, and all we need is three of them to head our way. Not only would this allow us to clinch the NL West title at home on Thursday, which would be a great celebration and a wonderful tribute for Dodger fans, but it would also allow us to avoid the unpalatable situation of letting San Francisco spoil our division title achievement.

In past years, we've gotten the better of San Francisco. Nothing will probably ever compensate for Bobby Thompson's Shot Heard 'Round The World (cheating notwithstanding), but at least Solomon Torres' 1993 meltdown (referenced by Rob at 6-4-2 today) and Steve Finley's 2004 bat-flipping walk-off grand slam were pretty sweet recent memories for Dodger fans.

But the season's final series, with us at Pac Bell Park, is going to be a downer any way you slice it:

  • The Giants could rise to the challenge and beat us, which could cause us to miss the playoffs altogether (depending on Arizona's outcomes) or even set up a one-game playoff between us and the Snakes. This playoff would be at home, but it would wreak havoc on our starting pitching rotation prior to the NLDS, a reasonably sharp kick to the nuts considering the Giants have nothing else for which to play. And with Giants manager Bruce Bochy jiggering the lineup to give Cy Young hopeful Tim Lincecum an extra start on Sunday, it's clear the Giants aren't setting up to go quietly into that good night. (Though if Cy Young candidacy is the Giants' sole goal, I suppose it's in Bochy's interest to ensure the Dodgers clinch before Sunday, likely rendering the Dodgers' Sunday lineup a harmless smorgasbord of September call-ups.) If the Giants knock us out, or even into a tie, believe me, they will be celebrating on the field with all the gusto of a World Series title.
  • The Giants could defuse our division-clinching celebration without even playing at all, should the NL West title be in play going into Friday's game. The Diamondbacks start play two hours before the Dodgers/Giants play on Friday; and on Saturday and Sunday, the D'backs start an hour before the Dodgers. So if the outcome of the division is still in question going into the final weekend, it could transpire that the Diamondbacks lose in the middle of the Dodgers' game, clinching the division for the Dodgers for them irrespective of the Dodgers/Giants' game outcome. If the Dodgers happen to drop the game with the Giants, but win the NL West title mid-game nonetheless, there certainly won't be a parade on field, and I've gotta think the champagne corks pop less forcefully in the Giants dugout. (The Dodgers can still spray champagne into Pac Bell Park's electrical outlets, however, catalyzing capital upgrades which might prompt the stadium's fourth sponsorship name change in a reasonably short existence).
  • Or, the Dodgers could actually clinch on the Giants' field, as a direct result of a victory over SF, still resulting in a muted celebration. The Giants fans would likely be booing, potentially golf-clapping at best. Maybe a couple of them will clink their chardonnay glasses in tacit approval and disgust. It's not like they count Todd Hundley's Splash Hit in their running total (though to be fair, I'm impressed that opponents' Splash Hits are even listed at all on the team's website). I'm sure there will be Dodger fans in attendance to give our boys their just appreciation, but it wouldn't be the same as the eruption should we clinch at Dodger Stadium.

So I sincerely hope we can wrap things up over the next two days. We're going to need St. Louis' continued help--I'm happy to even sacrifice my vote for Andre Ethier for the Aaron Award, and cede it to the also-deserving Albert Pujols, should the Cardinals oblige today and tomorrow by beating the Diamondbacks)--but the Dodgers going out there and winning games is still necessary to take care of this at home.

Three positive results, in four potential outcomes. Come on, Dodgers (and Cardinals). You can do it!


Erin said...

I'm keeping my fingers crossed that we clinch at home on Thursday, since I have tickets to that game. It would be awesome to be there for that.

Justin said...

The best part about the whole thing is that Kershaw is underage. So when we (hopefully) finally do clinch it, he won't "legally" be able to partake in the celebration.

Steve Sax said...

I'm happy to pitch in and drink Kershaw's champagne, if that's what it will take

MR.F said...

There are plenty of Dodger fans in "Frisco." Not like... 50%, but a sizable minority.

Orel said...

There's a video of Dodger fans celebrating outside AT&T Park after clinching in 2006, I think. We'll be well-represented up there.

Neeebs (The Original) said...

It ain't going to Frisco. We clinch in LA on Thursday.

Unknown said...

I was in San Francisco for that series and of all the LA/SF games I have ever been to, this was the most overwhelmingly LA crowd. Id venture to say the day we clinched was well over 50%.

Coincidentally (since I live in Boston) I will be in San Francisco for this series as well, and am going to the Saturday game with a large LA group. It will be a very pro LA crowd mixed in with bitter Giant season ticket holders talking about how we are going to get swept in the playoffs anyways.

Unknown said...

Also, I just got a new Nikon D40 and am anxious to take some action shots. I will be more than willing to share with those interested.

Steve Sax said...

andrew, we'd love to see your photos, and possibly post some if you'd like. see the sidebar for details / our contact info.

Good luck this saturday!

Oh, and to be fair, the SF fans might be right that we're going to get swept anyway. But that's still at least three games worth of incremental revenue, which we're going to use to re-sign Manny!

Meanwhile, please remind the kind Giants fans that they have no games worth of incremental revenue, and they are still paying for Zito.