I was so ready to panic. 3-6 loomed like a death sentence. The Dodger bullpen had failed again. The Dodgers offense had failed in crucial moments, again. The Dodgers played defense like they were wearing high heels. Failure, a broken season. I knew I couldn't write that, that overreaction, but my imagination failed me. My early season reserve was gone. What would I call the post I would make, when I pretended that I wasn't panicking? The only title I had in my mind was an evasion of the doom before us, a wish --- they still might win --- panic averted. That was the only title I had. And I get to use it!
From the perspective of a Snakes fan it is also a failure of defense and relief and clutch hitting. Funny how that works. For the fans it is their teams that are the primary agents of change. Qualls and Drew and Boyer too. Oh, and what about Hinch? His decision to walk Kemp to get to Ethier and then not walk Ethier when the runners advanced was a bit like doubling Pau Gasol and Lamar Odom but leaving Kobe wide open at the buzzer. I think a legitimate defense of Hinch can be organized but his decisions just felt wrong at the time. Wrong for his team, anyway.
The Dodger bullpen is still a mess, but maybe help is on the way. As Vinny last night reminded us Kuo and Belisario may be back soon. Oh, what a boon it would be to have a healthy Kuo. If these two come back, I suppose the most likely candidates to leave are the Ortizes. Unless the Dodgers decide to cut loose Monasterios, but that seems premature.
The Giants come into Los Angeles with a 7-2 record. It would be rash for me to say the Dodgers have to win two of three in this series, but it would be dishonest for me to say that I could stay in the neighborhood of a rational perspective if they don't take two of three. The Giants have strode confidently into the NL West saloon and declared themselves contenders. The Dodgers are stammering in a corner, too self conscious to declare anything about themselves. "Maybe we're contenders" the Dodgers mumble, as they nervously chew on some licorice. Wake up, Dodgers, or you'll get punched in the jaw and laid out on the floor with the Giants cackling over you. Four straight years the Dodgers have looked down on the Giants. That's not enough. We need at least three more years of the Dodgers finishing over the Giants to make up for what happened between these teams from 1997-2003. The Dodgers open the series with Vicente Padilla. This is a bit like walking up to the Giants in the NL West saloon and offering them some licorice. "Be my friend?" say the Dodgers meekly, as they offer the licorice like a nerd. Slam! Onto the floor. I sure hope not. The Giant starter tonight is Todd Wellenmeyer, who has an early season earned run average (ESERA) of 5.68. Sounds promising for the Dodgers, except Padilla's ESERA is more than twice that! Sigh. The lesson here? Never bring a stick of licorice to a knife fight.