Matt Kemp hits a solo home run during the sixth inning against the San Francisco… (Thearon W. Henderson / Getty…)
Five games left and what do the Dodgers have to play for?
Not a lot, really. The one carrot left is now dangling so far away it’s almost faded from view. Home-field advantage was supposed to be the charge this final week, but that’s almost off the table.
The Dodgers have five regular-season games to play and both Atlanta and St. Louis lead them by two games. And since both have motivation to finish with the best record so they can claim home-field advantage should they meet in the National League Championship Series, they’re not going to let up.
Which means since the wild-card winner will meet the team with the best overall record, the Dodgers will get the team with the second-best record. The Cardinals finish the weekend at home with three games against the crummy Cubs and the Braves are at home against the dead-team walking Phillies.
A playoff opener on the road is calling.
So these last five games, what do the Dodgers focus on? Certainly getting healthy, but you can only rub so much voodoo magic dust over Andre Ethier’s bad ankle. Chris Capuano will get a look as a long reliever, but his opportunity may have closed. Keep giving Matt Kemp at-bats, rest Hanley Ramirez and Adrian Gonzalez as needed.
But with the rotation, and now apparently the bullpen, in good shape, the Dodgers can turn their attention to their offense. Which hasn’t done much of late.
In their last four games, the Dodgers have scored seven runs (all but one coming via a home run) and averaged six hits. It’s only four games, but if the Dodgers want to enter the postseason on a roll — and they’ve won four consecutive — they need to start flexing some offensive muscle these final games.
The Dodgers believe when they’re healthy, particularly with Ramirez in the lineup, they can score and comeback on anyone. These last five games would be an excellent time to show it, since reason for continued winning is slipping away.