by Joshua Worley
I'm inclined to blame the middle relief more than anything else, including Juan Pierre.
Look, maybe the Dodgers should have been ahead by 2 or 3 runs by the sixth inning, if everyone ( well, basically Kent and Pierre ) had played better in the field and on the bases. But the fact is the Dodgers were tied at 3 after 5 and half innings. The ballgame had become a battle of the bullpens. These are the kind of tight games that a team 3 or 4 games out of a playoff spot has to win. Only it didn't happen. Seanez and Beimel coughed up 3 runs, and the Dodgers couldn't score off of Brocail and Bell.
It would be foolish to say that the Dodgers have to win tonight and tomorrow to make the playoffs. It would be a lot better if they did, though. When you're 4 games behind a team, it's in large part those head-to-head match-ups that remain that give you hope. If we can beat them in those games, we'll be right back in it. Well, okay. Here are the head-to-head games. Time to win or forget about it. Splitting the last two games means being 4 back of a very good team with only 3 head-to-head games remaining. Losing both would mean being 6 back! So it's got to be wins in both games, or else face really long odds the rest of the way. Lowe and Billingsley have to each go at least 7 innings. With reasonable odds for reaching the postseason on the line, you don't want to have to trust anyone but Broxton and Saito in the 'pen.
It's also time to permanently bench Gonzalez and Hillenbrand. Will LaRoche even be called up? His stint in AAA was a rehab assignment, and not a reflection of where management thinks he belongs, right? I think LaRoche not being called up today would be even more depressing than seeing the Dodgers lose today. Or having him called up but seeing jerk and bad player Hillenbrand get the start at third anyway. He's not the second coming of Marlon Anderson! Marlon had an OPS of 1.243 with the Dodgers last year, Hillenbrand is at 0.643 so far with them. The Dodgers don't need Hillenbrand, with Abreu and LaRoche soon to be on the roster. Just jettison him already!