The Dodgers find themselves in an unusual position: worrying about making the playoffs. LA surged early in the season, building a double-digit lead on its punchless division rivals. But following a recent Mets-esque freefall the Blue Crew finds itself only two games ahead of the surging Rockies in the NL West.
While Los Angeles should cruise into the playoffs thanks to a 6.5 game lead over wild card leader San Francisco the team is looking at a short October run thanks to a patchwork starting rotation consisting of an untested Chad Billingsley, the talented but erratic Clayton Kershaw... and then who? The oft-injured Hiroki Kuroda? Randy Wolf, master of the no decision? Knuckleballer Charlie Haeger? Unspectacular Jon Garland? The wretched Jeff Weaver? Resident jackass and swine flu carrier Vicente Padilla?
In the first round the Dodgers will face either St. Louis or Philadelphia. Chris Carpenter, Adam Wainwright and Joel Pineiro. Cliff Lee, Cole Hamels and J.A. Happ. Either way when playoff rotations slim down to a trio of arms LA will be outmatched in almost every pitching matchup.
A talented lineup and strong bullpen can cover up for a bad starting rotation for the regular season but those same flaws are exposed during a seven-game series... and the Dodgers are going to find out the hard way.