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Rockies' arrival offers Dodgers perfect moment to clean up their act

Los Angeles DodgersColorado RockiesSan Francisco GiantsArizona DiamondbacksSt. Louis CardinalsDodger StadiumNational League West
#Dodgers must be careful with the surging Rockies in the NL West

As much as the Giants are suddenly trying to let the Dodgers back into the National League West race, it might not be too soon to at least consider that other entry into the postseason -- the wild card.

The Rockies are coming to Dodger Stadium on Monday to open a three-game series and this would be an excellent time for the Dodgers to resume cleaning up their play.

The Rockies acted like a team ready to disappear a couple weeks ago when they lost eight consecutive games and 11 of 12, but now arrive on a five-game winning streak after sweeping the Giants in a three-game series in San Francisco.

Which leaves the Rockies just two games back of the second-place Dodgers in the NL West, and also in the wild-card race, where the Dodgers hold down the second spot, barely, in the NL.

Now the middle of June is way too early to get overly concerned about the wild card, but if you’re treading water like the Dodgers have been -- still more than a half-dozen games out in the West even though the Giants have lost three straight and six of seven -- it’s at least something to consider.

If the season ended today, the 37-34 Dodgers would have to play the Cardinals in that lovely one-game wild-card playoff. But the Dodgers are only a half-game ahead of the Marlins and Nationals, and two up on the Rockies and Pirates.

Now here come the Rockies, chests all out after their sweep at Phone Co. of the Week Ballpark, and absolutely in the pack chasing down the two wild-card berths.

This wild-card business is dangerous stuff, and as much as the Dodgers still need to focus on the division, in the process it would be nice to create some distance between themselves and that bunch of teams hanging around.

Of course, if you’re the Dodgers and are going to beat up on somebody besides the Diamondbacks (against whom they are 10-4) for a change, you’d best stop giving away games. With arguably the best rotation in baseball, if they just play clean, smart games, they’re going to win.

Which doesn’t mean committing costly errors, overrunning third base and having a brain cramp on a bouncer to second, all of which the Dodgers managed to squeeze into their 6-3 loss to Arizona on Sunday.

Things may not appear great for the Dodgers at the moment, but opportunity remains. Might as well start getting after it against the Rockies.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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Los Angeles DodgersColorado RockiesSan Francisco GiantsArizona DiamondbacksSt. Louis CardinalsDodger StadiumNational League West
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