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Time is now for Dodgers to make their move

August 30, 2012|By Steve Dilbeck
  • Adrian Gonzalez bats against the Miami Marlins on August 26.
Adrian Gonzalez bats against the Miami Marlins on August 26. (Stephen Dunn /Getty Images )

Guess what, Boys in Blue: Time is up, or perhaps it should be; your time is at hand.

The Dodgers have 31 regular-season games remaining, and if they want to live to see a postseason, they have to ratchet it up right now. No more waiting for someone else to get it started, to see what new veteran walks in the clubhouse door, for the game’s importance to become magnified.

Bodies are dropping from the Dodgers roster, and the final tally remains unknown. Are Kenley Jansen, Chad Billingsley, Scott Elbert and Ted Lilly about to join Jerry Hairston Jr. as out for the year?

The survivors can’t do diddly about that. They have to rally with what they have left, which remains significant, have to start playing with an urgency that has sometimes seemed absent.

Maybe the Dodgers are uncertain over exactly who they are these days. The Dodgers have nine players who weren’t even on their team a month ago. That’s a significant turnover for a team chasing a division title. Maybe too much turnover.

Because right now it’s hard to figure out exactly what kind of team they are, both in style and personality. Adrian Gonzalez and Hanley Ramirez are major additions to the heart of the lineup.

But there can’t be any waiting for the one of them, or Matt Kemp or Andre Ethier, to hit a bomb. There can’t be anymore waiting. The Dodgers have to start grinding out at-bats again, doing the little things that can make the big things so much more impactful.

The Dodgers trail the Giants by 3½ games, and four in the loss column. That is not an inconsequential number of games to overcome, but neither should it be intimidating (See: Cardinals, 2012).

What it should be is a wake-up call, a call to pull together right now. Not wait for Sept. 1 and the start of the official stretch drive, but right now, Thursday against Arizona. The Diamondbacks have lost six consecutive games. They need to be jumped on while they’re down. The September schedule -- Giants, Cards, Nationals, Reds -- is not going to get easier.

Ownership has done its part. Now it’s up to the players to perform, to pull together, to become focused as a team. The prize remains within their grasp, but they have to go seize it. And right now.

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