Tipsheet: Slumping Dodgers, Cubs add intrigue to NL race
On one hand, the Cardinals are getting no help in the National League wild card playoff race.
The reeling Los Angeles Dodgers gifted the Colorado Rockies a four-game sweep to keep them three games up on the Cardinals and Milwaukee Brewers in the race for the second wild-card berth.
On the other hand, the Cardinals are getting ample help in the NL Central race.
The stumbling Chicago Cubs awarded Milwaukee a three-game sweep over the weekend, allowing the Brewers and Cardinals to move within two games of the division lead.
Thanks to the struggles of these two powerhouse teams, there is ample intrigue as major league baseball heads into the final three weeks of the regular season.
The Dodgers lost their cloak of invincibility while losing 10 consecutive games and 16 of their last 19. The defending World Series champion Cubs also raised fresh concerns while losing six of their last eight games.
So what’s going on here?
“I’m open for suggestions,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts informed reporters Sunday after an 8-1 loss to the Rockies. “We have a very frustrated and upset clubhouse, but there’s really no explanation. We have to find a way to win a game.”
Cubs manager Joe Maddon was similarly perplexed after a 3-1 loss to the Brewers Sunday.
“All of a sudden, in this series, we chose not to hit,” Maddon said during his postgame media session. “Give their pitchers credit. They’ve pitched well . . . Hopefully we’ll start to hit soon.”
Former Dodgers manager Tommy Lasorda visited the LA clubhouse Sunday looking to cheer folks up. “He just wanted to put his hand on my shoulder and said, ‘I’ve been there. It’s going to be OK,'” Roberts told reporters. “We’re getting to some uncharted territory.”
Clearly the Dodgers remained uninspired despite Lasorda’s gesture. They are threatening to stage one of the greatest collapses in baseball history.
“As far as looking back at two weeks and you win one game, I think that seeps in,” Roberts said.
Maddon is a self-style motivational master, but he isn’t planning another clubhouse meeting after the dreadful weekend. He is going the stiff-upper-lip route.