Adrian Gonzalez acknowledges teammate Hanley Ramirez, who drove in Gonzalez… (George Nikitin / Associated…)
So how about those Cardinals?
Got 'em in your sights? The Dodgers best have, because their chances of winning the National League West appear about as likely as Adrian Gonzalez opening at the Comedy Club.
The Dodgers begin this off day 5 1/2 games back of the Giants in the NL West and six in the loss column, with 21 games left to play.
That’s a long ways back, with precious few days to play catch-up. If the Giants go just 11-11 over their final 22 games, the Dodgers would have to go 16-5 just to tie them.
Hey, it’s a swell thought, but reality leads elsewhere. And right now, it leads to one of the NL’s two wild-card berths.
If the season were to end today, Atlanta and St. Louis would capture the berths and have a crazy one-game playoff.
The Dodgers currently trail the Cardinals by 1½ games for that second spot. And the Cardinals come to Dodger Stadium for a four-game series beginning Thursday.
Now that the Dodgers stumbled in San Francisco over the weekend, their focus needs to be on the Cardinals. And they’d best be looking at taking at least three of those games against St. Louis, because after the Cardinals leave Los Angeles they play nine consecutive games against the woeful Astros and Cubs. While the Dodgers will be playing their next six against division leaders Washington and Cincinnati.
These are not the Cardinals of Tony La Russa and Albert Pujols, but they remain formidable, and overtaking them is a serious challenge. One the Dodgers showed no inkling of being able to handle over the weekend against the Giants.
The Dodgers are 4-3 against the Cardinals this season, having lost their last three.
Should the Dodgers make it to a one-game playoff, they no doubt would like to send out ace Clayton Kershaw. His next start was pushed back until Tuesday because of a sore hip, and that has him in line to start the opener against the Giants on Oct. 1 in the final regular-season series of the year.
That means he would have to start the Oct. 5 wild-card playoff on four days rest instead of his customary five.
Still, even getting there is daunting. Which now makes the looming four-game set against the Cardinals their biggest series of the year.
Dodgers' Clayton Kershaw has sore hip, scheduled to start Tuesday
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