Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Keep Hope Alive!

It's a new day in Los Angeles, the sun is shining, the birds are singing. And even thought the bitterness of last night's defeat lingers in one's mouth like cigars after a long night of scotch-drinking, already the pain is beginning to subside. And in the spirit of the eternally optimistic Jon Weisman over at Dodger Thoughts, I still hold out hope that we can pull this NLCS off.

Crazy, I know. Last night was a gut-punch (or a face punch, depending on your perspective and if you have wallabies around), but no different from the way Phillies fans must have felt after we took Game 2 with the Andre Ethier bases-loaded walk. The thing about a seven-game series is, unlike the best-of-five League Divisional Series, the best team usually wins, and fluke victories tend to balance out.

So we trade off flukes with Philly, so what? Unlike Games 2 and 3, our offense showed some signs of life last night. Unlike Games 2 and 3, we broke through against the starting Phillies pitcher. Unlike I don't know how long, Manny Ramirez came up with a fine defensive play late in the game.

There is of course a delicious irony to the much-maligned Phillies bullpen surviving the late innings, and Jonathan Broxton's repeat Game 4 meltdown involving Matt Stairs, ever-predictably chronicled by the LAT's resident hack this morning (very nice call by SoSG reader Erin last night, hours before press deadlines). Depressing? Yes. Series-clinching? Possibly, even probably.

But, not necessarily. Those of us Dodger faithful can still believe in the team's resilience, in Joe Torre's wisdom, in Fox's television ratings boons. If Brad Lidge can get it together, so can Broxton, even after a disappointing loss like this (remember, he shut down the side in Game 2 with similar heat). Our postseason odds of winning the NLCS are at 15%, only a a couple points behind the Angels, who have one game less of a deficit in their series.

This can happen. This may be the Zoloft talking, but I believe it to be true. And here are five reasons off the top of my head why we can keep hope alive:

1. Teams can come back from 3-1 deficits; 12 teams have done it to date. Boston did it in the 2007 ALCS vs. Cleveland (winning Game 5 at Jacobs before coming back to romp two games at Fenway, en route to another World Series title); and of course they dug out of an even bigger hole against the Yankees in the 2004 ALCS. In the National League, the most recent was the 2003 Marlins, who came back from a 3-1 deficit against the Chicago Cubs. The full list (please check my work on this):

  • 1903 Boston Americans (Red Sox), down 1-3, won WS 5-3 over Pittsburgh.
  • 1925 Pittsburgh Pirates, down 1-3, won WS 4-3 over Washington.
  • 1958 New York Yankees, down 1-3, won WS 4-3 over Milwaukee.
  • 1968 Detroit Tigers, down 1-3, won WS 4-3 over St. Louis.
  • 1979 Pittsburgh Pirates, down 1-3, won WS 4-3 over Baltimore.
  • 1985 Kansas City Royals, down 1-3, won ALCS 4-3 over Toronto.
  • 1985 Kansas City Royals, down 1-3, won WS 4-3 over St. Louis.
  • 1986 Boston Red Sox, down 1-3, won ALCS 4-3 over California.
  • 1996 Atlanta Braves, down 1-3, won NLCS 4-3 over St. Louis.
  • 2003 Florida Marlins, down 1-3, won NLCS 4-3 over Chicago.
  • 2004 Boston Red Sox, down 0-3 (and 1-3), won ALCS 4-3 over New York.
  • 2007 Boston Red Sox, down 1-3, won ALCS 4-3 over Cleveland.

2. Three wins in a row, for this Dodger team, was a common trend this season. The Dodgers have had 25 three-game win streaks this season; 28 if you count the first three games of the postseason as well. If you count discrete streaks of three games or more, the Dodgers have 11 of those, 12 if you count the postseason.

3. Three losses in a row, for this Dodger team, is relatively uncommon. Remember, we didn't get our first three-game loss streak until our 100th game, at the end of July, holding out longer than any other major league team. Until then, we had resisted the consecutive loss trifecta--just as we can by winning Game 5.

4. We need to take this one game at a time, and on the mound for us tomorrow is Vicente Padilla, who has definitely had a hot hand of late for the Dodgers. Playing like a stud since the Dodgers picked him up off the scrap heap, Padilla has been 5-0 for Los Angeles, including a postseason victory against the Cardinals (on the road, to clinch the NLDS), and hasn't had a loss yet as a Dodger. Wednesday night won't break this pattern. Furthermore, Shane Victorino won't get a chance to choose which body part Padilla will be allowed to target. All we need is to win once with Padilla to get the series back to Los Angeles, where we are 50-31 with a .617 winning percentage; 53-32 / .624 if you count the playoffs.

5. Ticket to Game 6 are still available, and I want to go. And I don't have anything else to do Friday night. I just want to see another game at the Stadium, cheering on our Dodgers. And I don't think that's too much to ask of the baseball gods.

It can happen. So you'd better watch.

GO DODGERS!

47 comments:

fanerman said...

Si se puede!

Josh S. said...

Well shit, Sons! I'm psyched up now!

I'm still keeping this avatar until tomorrow, though.

Josh S. said...

(Even though you have to click it to see it.)

rbnlaw said...

Erin and I had that exchange yesterday regarding her (2nd) beloved BoSox (out of respect for her, I will use the proper contraction). My mistake, other than saying the 2004 Sox were down 3-0 to the Spankees, was to evoke the spirit of that club before it was appropriate. Now that the Dodgers are down 3-1, the time is right.

Great post. Let's get that win tomorrow.

rbnlaw said...

@Josh S.
. . .and I laughed!

We used to call him Tom "I'll be" Niedenfuer "of those pitches."

Dusty Baker said...

Mrs. Dusty's refusal to be beaten down (I mean by the series, not spousally) is growing on me. My thinking goes like this:

While it is improbable that we could come back and win three straight games, and I don't expect us to, and won't have hopes built up for (but would love to be proven wrong)...I would like to see us smash them in the mouth tomorrow night and bring the series back to LA. It would be a big boost for our boys, mentally. Forget about the series; they need a win to show themselves that the ability to win at the highest level is within them. Make the Philberts have to pack they shit up and make another cross-country flight instead of celebrating at home. That will get them grouchy. And that's when we pounce. Then all of the sudden, the series is 3-2 and coming back home, where it belongs *throws LA sign*.

And I don't mind the prospect of seeing Phiwws celebrate on our turf, if that's what happens. It means we gutted it out and brought the series back. It would be a sign more of success than failure. A seven game series, like a soccer/football table, doesn't lie; in the end, if they take the series, then they deserve it and we clap them off and start marking our calendars for the day when pitchers and catchers report.

[This passes for optimism from me...it's rare]

Fred's Brim said...

hehe nice work, Josh
I sure hope there isn't a Jack Clark to Rollins' Ozzie Smith

and i love what you've said there DB - i'd like to think that's what Joe would say to them before the game tomorrow

fanerman said...

True dat, DB.

Dusty Baker said...

OT:

Shaikin at LA Times reporting that Colletti has re-upped with Los Doyers on a long-term contract. More details to come.

Also, it appears that Donnie Baseball is a candidate for the Cleveland job. Most likely as a trial run for how to interview, according to some.

Fred's Brim said...

When are we going to get the ads for downloading the Phillies toolbar? Do we have to beat them first?

Dusty Baker said...

Colletti news:

http://cbs2.com/sports/dodgers/DODGERS.NED.COLLETTI.2.1260059.html

Paul said...

I would love to feel optimistic but I am dead inside right now.

Oh and the Phillies are really really good. Defending World Champion good.

But the toughest win in the road back from this is always the first and if the roles were reversed I would be hoping to God the dodgers finished the Phils in game 5 instead of heading back east.

So one last time I am saying there is a chance.

Dusty Baker said...

Paul-

Hang in there, man.

This is what it feels like when doves cry, I think.

fanerman said...

Paul,
Luckily, they don't pronounce one team better than the other until they've won 4 times. ie, however unlikely it is, depending on how we play, the Phillies may not look like the better team when it's all said and done.

Steve Sax said...

Fanerman, you're not advocating going after Ryan Howard's knees with a crowbar, right? Your avatar is deceiving...

fanerman said...

Crowbar? What kinda brute do you think I am? Besides, it's a baseball game. There are so many bats lying around...

Table said...

I am with you.

If they had won last night, the Dodgers still needed to win 2 0f 3, now they need 3 0f 3.

It is not as if things went from likely to impossible.

Dusty Baker said...

Just noted this FB (Flat Breezy not Fred's Brim) gallows humor in an LA Times post from this morning re: Broxton and how there was no way to console him:

"You kind of give him his space," setup man George Sherrill said. Smiling, Sherrill added, "Especially a guy that big."

Mr. Customer said...

I do sort of feel like that was the nadir of the Post-season. If we lose tomorrow, we lose tomorrow, but it won't be the same kind of soul-sucking loss that yesterday was. Ain't nothin' left to do but win or go home, so we might as well win.

Dusty Baker said...

The loss was soul-sucking. I can still feel the frigid air as the Dementors swooped down on me while I was paralyzed with despair and sucked the very life and soul out of me as I watched Phil-mes celebrate on my television screen.

Mr. Customer said...

@db

I was almost sure that you would zing me for using "nadir", not "soul-sucking". You're just full o' surprises, dude.

Also, my Reds are trying to make me feel better about my Dodger fan status by proving they can suck way harder. Particularly that useless git, Javier Mascherano.

fanerman said...

Tell me about it DB. Too bad I was too busy staring at Hermione in those DA sessions to practice my patronus charms =(.

Dusty Baker said...

Question: Is Hermione 18 yet? Because I really look forward to talking about how cute she is, but in a fully legal context.

[If she's not 18 yet, destroy this comment.]

Dusty Baker said...

Mr. C-

Naw, loved the "nadir" phrasing. Loved it.

Your Reds are marching down the hill, indeed. Bet you can't wait for the big clash this weekend with ManUre. Please tell me it's not the 4:45AM match and that I have to wake up and get down to the pub that early for it.

Steve Sax said...

DA sessions? I'm confused.

Steve Sax said...

19, dude.

fanerman said...

Since Harry Potter takes place in the 90's, Hermione is well over 18. Emma Watson, the actress that plays Hermione is 19, according to wikipedia.

DA = Dumbledore's Army. aka Harry Potter's ploy to hook up with Cho Chang, disguised as a practical defensive magic club.

Dusty Baker said...

After a hookup with Cho Chang, would HP say, "Cha ching!"

Sorry. *Throws rotten tomatoes at self*

Nic j said...

Dodgers in 9!

JT_Dutch said...

... Hahaha. Gotta love blogs.

"Please keep reading my blog!!! Don't leave until next spring!!!They still have a shot!!! Here's some irrelevant stats to support a conclusion that I know instinctively doesn't have a chance in hell of coming to fruition!!!"

If you've been following this team for any more than three seconds, you know exactly what's going to happen tomorrow. The offense will be silent, Padilla will be solved, the eviscerated and shell-shocked bullpen will continue to get their collective faces kicked in, and the Phillies fans will dance on their grave.

I would recommend you not to watch the game, but for some of you, it will be an education about what it means to be a Dodger fan. Learn this pain, and get used to it. You think you're used to it already? Think again. If you choose to watch, you obviously haven't suffered enough.

All the stats and regular-season accomplishments don't erase the fact that this Dodger team is human. And scared. Scared of the Phillies. Why? Who knows. Why did Broxton pitch around Stairs? Why do the Dodgers continue to give the Phillies too much respect? Was there any Dodger fan who DIDN'T see the ending to game 4 play out before it actually did? The Dodgers were waiting the entire game for the other shoe to drop, and when it finally did, they couldn't wait to get the hell off the field and get to the safety of the clubhouse. They're spooked, intimidated, SCARED. Tomorrow, there will be expressionless Dodger players, looking for all the world like they're marching to their execution. They will do everything they can to get it over with as quickly as possible.

I, along with many fans I know, am relieved that I will not need to watch that. If you choose to watch it, don't worry -- you'll pay for it. But keep reading the blog!!! Please???

Pedro Guerrero said...

We're a Chase Utley throwing error from being swept. Phils close it out tomorrow at home.

Nic j said...

you could also say we are a Breezy bad pitch and a Broxton bad pitch away from being up 3-1!!

Karina, now THAT'S a positive spin. Just for you.

Mr. Customer said...

@Dusty

Kickoff at 7 pacific. I'll technically be in the UK by that time, but not for long enough to haul my ass up to anfield.

Erin said...

JT Dutch, nice to see you for the first time ever.

I don't really know what motivates someone to login and write something like that, but it's certainly coming from someone who doesn't know what this blog means.

Sax is a Dodger fan. Period. Take note. Maybe you've never seen a real one before. He (and the other Sons) write the blog out of love for the Dodgers. They do not write the blog so that awesome guys like you can come by and claim that they write the blog to get you to keep reading. There is no part of this post that indicates in any way that Sax just wants you to keep reading. He doesn't need to promote himself. We'll all give him page hits all winter, whether winter starts tomorrow or someday in the future.

If he, or anyone else here, preaches hope, it is simply because we want to keep watching Dodger baseball. You don't want to? Fine, then don't. But some of us like to watch baseball. And some of us like to believe. And some of us aren't assholes.

Mr. Customer said...

Yeah, what Erin said, except the assholes part.

Not because it's not true, but to avoid the whole pot-calling-the-kettle-black thing.

Neeebs said...

BTW, I'm still hibernating.

Mr. Customer said...

Neeebs, I figured you'd be on the first Zamboni outta town by now.

Neeebs said...

And for all you (us) Manny fans see this article for sh*ts and grins.

http://tinyurl.com/yhwka8w

Dusty Baker said...

JT-

Don't know your motivation there, buddy, but you are quite off base about Sax's post and about the man himself...and about the purpose and intent of this blog. I know we're all a little upset about how the season has turned out, but it's no reason to hate on each other, disrespect the blog, or to pile on the team you (I assume, but hard to tell from your comments) support.

I couldn't pick a single blog owner or poster out of a crowd* but I can say without doubt I'd take a bullet for 'em. That's what you get around here; that's the dynamic. So maybe there's nothing here for you, and you should keep steppin'.

*Except for J Steve.

Nic j said...

haha, i read that article. Funny stuff. Why does everybody like to pick on the guy. Im sure he figured the guy is over, and not in the bad way.

Nic j said...

*game

fanerman said...

JT Dutch probably isn't going to read our replies anyway so whatever.

Paul said...

Hey who let Plaschke in this joint? That guy loves to read his own words.

JuanLove said...

my birthday is friday

cmon dodgers, get me a W on my birthday.
this has never ever happened to me.
Dodgers never play on Oct 23, and if the Lakers do, it's preseason.

Dusty Baker said...

Come on, Blue! Do it for JL!

Matt Kemp said...

I was pretty down after Monday's game, but I feel optimistic for some reason. I'm not usually optimistic. I usually assume the worst (case in point, I proclaimed the series over after Ruiz's homer in game 1).

I feel that even if the Dodgers don't win it, they are different than last year. They won 11 more games for a reason and it would be a shame to lose in the exact same way. I think that this team is going to get mad and put up a fight and make things tough on the Phils rather than roll over and play dead, much like they did last year.

JT_Dutch said...

Fanerman … of course I read them. Why wouldn’t I?

Erin … I’ve been here before, several times. If you don’t recall those times, this is your problem, not mine. And I disagree with you about blog promotion … what’s with an interview at the top with some kid who doesn’t know a baseball from a powdered doughnut, calling himself the “don’t stop believing” guy? As for wanting to watch the game, well, that’s cool -- I hope you learned your lesson, though? You obviously didn’t suffer enough, and so you asked to suffer more. Don’t say you weren’t warned. And the true asshole is the one who resorts to name calling, is it not, Erin?

“Dusty Baker” … This is awesome that you have online friends. I do, too. This is not an issue, and there’s no hating going on at all. I’m not “disrespecting the blog”, the blog did that on its own with their silly irrelevant stats and interviews. Why not keep it real; tell it like it is? Other Dodger sites have. You obviously have been a Dodger fan long enough to remember Dusty playing here, right? I have, too. I’ve been a fan of this team for 30 years, and suffered with this team for the last 21. You and I both know what’s up with this team, don’t we? Did you really think the Dodgers would even win one more game after Monday night, much less three in a row? Usually I respect what is said here, but I also know bullshit when I see it, and I simply called it out. ‘Tis all. There’s no need for you to hate on ME, just address what I said in my earlier post and tell me where I’m wrong? Did Padilla get solved? Did the bullpen get hit hard? Did they roll over and look like a beaten team?

There is belief, which is great for fans … but there is a reality that the team doesn’t have belief in itself. The Dodgers are intimidated by the Phillies, and it affected every measure of their game. Broxton’s fear of Stairs on Monday is not unique to him at all, it is a reflection of his team; mostly its pitching staff that gave up 36 runs in 5 games. Sorry to point out the truth of the matter and say something most don’t want to hear, but it is what it is.