11 September 2009

A Two Game Lead

If I had been told on opening day that the Dodgers would be in first place, two games ahead of the second place team, I would have answered with a rant about how much I hated the "if I had been told" hypothetical. The journey matters. The things I've experienced between now and then make a difference. I've always figured the point of that hypothetical was to say the opposite, that the journey doesn't matter, that only the destination matters.

Maybe there is another way of looking at the "if I had been told" hypothetical. Maybe it's a reminder of how much our goals have changed between now and then, and maybe how much has already been accomplished. Back then a two game lead was a worthy goal. Now it feels narrow and almost a failure, because of the heights previously reached. But it is still an accomplishment. It is still a good position to be in. From two games up a team can easily launch itself into the postseason.

And of course the lead for the purposes of making the postseason is not 2, it's 6.5. I say this even knowing how disappointed I will be if the Dodgers don't finish in first place in the NL West, even if they make it as the wild card. The wild card is okay if you surge into it, but not if you tumble down into it. Except that none of this is true once the playoff series begin. All that matters then in winning the series. And all the really matters now is getting to that series. All that matters is the 6.5 game lead.

But the two game lead is still the one I care about more.

Game 141 Unfair Loss Shares ( Dodgers )

Troncoso -- 2
Belliard -- 1

It was a tale of ground outs with these two. All Belliard did all night was ground out. ( At least Martin, who was the other hitless Dodger starter, lined out once. ) And Troncoso's job was to get the ground out, and he did, a nice comebacker from the first batter he faced, only, well, you probably remember what happened next, since it was only two days ago, and if you don't remember it maybe that's for the best. Let's just say Troncoso picked up his first unfair loss share on the play.

In the aftermath, with a runner on third and one out, Torre elected to walk the next two batters. He might have walked only Drew, and gone for the double play with Upton, but Upton is so fast that it might be hard to get one, unless he hit a really hard ground ball. But Upton had grounded into 10 double plays, so it wasn't impossible. But Torre didn't believe, so he walked Upton to load the bases and pitched to strikeout prone Reynolds instead. I would have done the same, even though it's probably the wrong call if you look at the likely outcomes. It was when Troncoso walked Reynolds and forced in the winning run that he picked up his second unfair loss share.

Game 141 Unfair Win Shares ( Snakes )

Haren -- 1
Gutierrez -- 1
Reynolds -- 1

What, no Montero? He was squeezed out by Reynolds' clutch walk and Gutierrez's excellent relief in the eighth inning.

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