With 15 games remaining before the postseason starts, the Dodgers’ magic number is all the way down to four. Not only would it take a freak explosion from the second place Arizona Diamondbacks, the Dodgers would also need to meltdown and lose the majority of their final games in order to lose the division lead. That is not going to happen, so I will make my best effort to predict when the Boys in Blue will lock up the NL West crown.
Every time the Dodgers win, the magic number drops one and the same happens when the Diamondbacks lose. With the aid of the Colorado Rockies who beat the Diamondbacks yesterday, the magic number lowered one despite the Dodgers’ loss to the Giants. Arizona has gone 4-8 over their last 12 games in an effort to ensure that LA makes the postseason. How kind of the Diamondbacks!
Arizona will play two more games at home before hosting Los Angeles. The Diamondbacks will face the Rockies’ Roy Oswalt, who has been terrible this year, and Jhoulys Chacin, who has been great. Expect the Diamondbacks to split these games 1-1, bringing their elimination number to three by Sunday’s end.
Ricky Nolasco takes the mound in tonight’s game against the rival San Francisco Giants who will send out Tim Lincecum. Nolasco has been fantastic since coming to the Dodgers, posting an 8-1 record with a 2.07 ERA in 12 starts. Although Lincecum’s season has had a few highlights, including a no-hitter back in July, he has struggled all year. I do not see why the Dodgers will not get the win in this game.
In Sunday afternoon’s series finale with the Giants, the newest Dodger starter, Edinson Volquez, will face off against Ryan Vogelsong who has missed much of the 2013 season with a broken hand. Vogelsong’s last two outings were rough as his ERA was 6.89 and he recorded only four strikeouts in almost 16 innings pitched. Volquez is by no means a consistent pitcher, but his last outing was a nice six innings pitched, giving up three earned runs. If Volquez can generate a similar performance on Sunday, the Dodgers could very well head to Arizona only needing a single win to clinch the division.
The most interesting scenario would be if the Dodgers and Diamondbacks can hold out just long enough so LA can go all Mortal Kombat “finish him!!” when they head to Chase Field. Unless the Dodgers win both and the Diamondbacks drop both of their games, this is a realistic possibility.
When the Dodgers get to Arizona, it would most likely be Hyun-Jin Ryu’s turn in the rotation, although Chris Capuano could possibly sneak in to the mix. Thus, my final prediction is this: if Ryu pitches first against the Diamondbacks, expect the Dodgers to clinch the NL West in the first game of the series on Monday, September 16. If Capuano slips in there, it still could be that day, but more likely it would be in game two on Tuesday the 17th.
I would love to read when you think the Dodgers will clinch the division, so please leave a comment below. Thanks for reading!