Meanwhile, the Dodgers wait on the Rockies to lose.
Last they saw Jim Tracy, he was losing plenty. Where's that now?
Joe Torre's troops just trudged through Washington, Pittsburgh and San Diego and lost 2½ games to the Rockies, who play the Brewers this afternoon to A) clinch some sort of postseason participation and B) keep their NL West hopes alive.
The Dodgers won't play today, and still are guaranteed to amass exactly one fewer hit than they mustered the night before in San Diego.
Granted, the Padres are playing like a team that wants desperately to win, which for the moment makes it an unfair fight. Then again, the Padres haven't already secured a playoff spot. Give them a few weeks.
So, what do the Dodgers do if, say, the Rockies lose today? Pool party at Manny's house? (Does Broxton have to come?) And then how would Friday night at Dodger Stadium – Rockies at Dodgers – go?
All that said, they've so far done very little damage to anything but their self esteem (and the toe of Ned Colletti's boot).
The Cardinals have lost three in a row and five of their last six, meaning it still looks like half of the NL division series would open at Dodger Stadium on Wednesday. The Phillies have split their past 12 games, so the Dodgers could still host the NLCS, should they wriggle past Chris Carpenter(notes), Adam Wainwright(notes), Albert Pujols(notes) and the boys. Course, there's still the little task of actually winning the West, a division they've led since tax day, a race they've treated like a coronation since Independence Day.
It's certainly possible – and perhaps likely – none of it will matter next week. Except that Torre doesn't have a true No. 1 starter, which would be tolerable if he had a true No. 2. Except Manny just hit .229 for a month, and looked worse than that. Except Andre Ethier(notes), arguably the team MVP, just logged a 1-for-29 road trip. And except Matt Kemp(notes) bears the swing and patience of a man trying to make up for all his slumping pals.
Meantime, they could get on with the business of winning the division and putting all of this behind them if, you know, the Rockies would just lose a game.
Give it up for the Phillies, who won their third consecutive NL East title, and their first without the companion story of the Mets completely humiliating themselves. Well, not in September, anyway.
There's no way to know how the ninth inning is going to work out for Charlie Manuel over the next month, but it was heartwarming to see Brad Lidge(notes) securing the win (with a seven-run lead). Through his worst career nightmare, Lidge has conducted himself with unusual professionalism and accountability. He is as decent a man with 11 blown saves as he was with none.
If the playoffs started today:
Tigers at Yankees
Red Sox at Angels
Cardinals at Dodgers
Rockies at Phillies
• Cardinals at Reds. Carpenter tunes up for playoffs, Cy Young vote. Career numbers: vs. Dodgers 5-0, 2.20 ERA.
• Rangers at Angels. Lackey in what might be final regular-season start for Angels, prepping for Game 1 – and maybe 5 – against Red Sox. Career numbers: vs. Red Sox 3-7, 5.25, in playoffs 0-2, 3.67.
• Indians at Red Sox. Lester tries out his bruised knee. Sox might want to win a game soon just to practice game-ending handshakes.