...for the Dodgers to make the post-season:
1. Jonathan Broxton needs to go on the DL...then return as the closer. Even if the rest doesn't completely heal his injured toe — which he insists is fine — the mandatory time off will give Broxton a chance to mentally reset himself after blowing three of his past five save opportunities. (Plus he can spend time with his new baby.) George Sherrill can step in as the closer for the rest of the month.
2. A new fourth starter needs to be found. With Hiroki Kuroda's hideous injury putting the rotation in further flux (Kuroda, ever the gamer, says he can pitch his next start, but Joe Torre knows better), the "four starters plus a fifth-starter-by-committee" plan requires another revision.
A new starter via the waiver wire is a possibility; available names include John Smoltz, Bronson Arroyo and Aaron Harang. Or the Dodgers could pick a name from the hat and go with Jeff Weaver, Eric Stults, James McDonald, Scott Elbert or Charlie Haeger — but the fifth starter will have to come from the same pool.
3. Joe Torre needs to continue batting Matt Kemp at or near the top of the order. What's better than being good? Being consistently good. Kemp hasn't gone more than three consecutive games without a hit (and has gone hitless in three straight only twice: at the beginning of May and at the end of July). His .373 OBP leads all Dodger starters, and his .498 SLG is second only to Andre Ethier's. And we haven't even mentioned his defense. Thank you, Ned Colletti, for not trading this guy.
4. Rafael Furcal, Russell Martin and James Loney need to pick it up. Furcal has the lowest OBP (.333) of the Dodgers' eight regular starters; his best leadoff days are behind him. Martin's SLG (.318) is lower than his OBP (.363); it's time for him to accept his lack of power (at least this season) and maintain that OBP. And Loney is batting .217/.294/.261 this month. A good team can absorb one or two slumps at the same time. But three simultaneous slumps? That may be too much.
5. The bench needs to produce. The bench is already a man short due to the Dodgers carrying 13 pitchers on the roster (see item #2). Furthermore, the pinch-hitting options are few: Brad Ausmus will always be the last resort because he's the backup catcher, and Juan Castro is primarily a defensive replacement (although he's hitting .304/.343/.370). That means Mark Loretta (.228/.315/.269, 0 HR) and Juan Pierre (.319/.376/.403, 0 HR) are the go-to bats off the bench. We may not have our Matt Stairs, but there are other ways besides power for the bench to contribute.