If I am at once optimistic and realistic, I guess I think the Dodgers will finish the season 83-79. This is realistic because the Dodgers are a slightly better than average team, and those sorts of teams tend to end up with a slightly better than average record. This is optimistic because I assume the Dodgers won't just collapse down the stretch.
I think I will be happier if I just accept that the Dodgers are an 83 win team. Then events such as last night's 4-3 loss become bearable. Then watching gameday as Broxton gives up a lead-off double and threatens to give up a 3-1 lead feels like a natural part of things. That sweep of the Phllies was an aberration. An abomination, Phillies fans would say. The Phillies will have a chance to set things right when the Dodgers visit Philadephia. That 4 game series will start a 10 game road trip that, according to prophesy, is supposed to sink the Dodgers postseason hopes.
There is another side to this postseason thing, though. A loophole in the prophesy of doom. The Snakes also have to hold up their end of it. I'm through overestimating them. After a month of this season I thought they were a very good team and that was a lie. I'm also through underestimating them. They have a good rotation and Adam Dunn and a few other guys who can hit a home run. I guess I'm just through estimating them. I don't know what the Snakes will do. But let's not pretend that they are better than they are. They are still capable of losing a lot of games. My goal for them is 80 losses, since I want the Dodgers to make the playoffs. I think in a division as bad as the NL West this year it is appropriate to make this kind of goal. The winner of this division will be the worst playoff team in the majors by far, so let's not pretend the Dodgers can do anything but back into the playoffs anyway. The goal I set for them getting in should reflect that.
Broxton just struck out the side to win the game for the Dodgers. I've been a longtime defender of Broxton's, but two more blown saves and I'm going to retire from that vocation. If he blows two more saves then the next time someone says he just doesn't have what it takes to be a closer I'll just nod sympathetically. Maybe I'll throw in something like, "yeah, he's just an eighth inning guy."
So only one out of three from the Rockies. A really good team would take at least two of the three. The one that hurt was last night's loss. That was my new nominee for most depressing game of the season. Not most heartbreaking, mind. Just depressing. Billingsley struggled with his control, but he fought for six innings and only gave up two runs. Could have been just one. And they wasted it. His performance last night reminded me of his rookie season when he maintained a 3.8 ERA with a strikeout to walk ratio of 1:1 by pitching so much better with runners on base. He was so clutch last night. And they wasted it! Kicked it away with bad defense and bad at bats and shaky relief pitching. Juan Pierre even struck out twice. You know it's not your night when Peavy can't hold a 4-0 lead and Juan Pierre can't even make contact. That's your one skill at the plate, man! You have to come through with it.
The Snakes need to lose 20 more times to reach my goal for them. I'm worried they're not going to make it. Their hitters need to really step up and strike out even more than they already do. The pen needs to blow a few more saves. It's going to be tough with Webb and Haren in the rotation but I have faith that the Snakes can make it to 80 losses.