Three pieces of unfinished business remain on the Dodgers' agenda as the season winds down.
The first task is calculating the damage catcher Mike Piazza inflicts on an assortment of club and National League rookie records. Piazza's two-run single in the second inning of the Dodgers' 6-5 victory over the Cubs on Tuesday night gave him 106 runs batted in, tying the franchise record for RBIs by a rookie set by Del Bissonette in 1928. He is tied for seventh on the all-time NL rookie list and 13 short of Wally Berger's record.
Cory Snyder also drove in two runs as the Dodgers pounded Mike Harkey (10-10) and carried Kevin Gross (12-13) to his third consecutive victory, before a Dodger Stadium crowd of 29,457.
"They're in a situation where they have to win the game to stay alive," said Tom Candiotti, the Dodgers' starter in the series opener. "It raises the hair on your back. You know they have to beat you. They want to beat you. It raises you to a little higher level."
Last--but hardly least--is re-signing second baseman Jody Reed. The Dodgers had hoped to do that before the season ends and he becomes eligible for free agency, but it's beginning to appear unlikely an agreement will be reached in the next week.
Fred Claire, Dodger executive vice president, said he continues to talk with Reed's agent, J.D. Dowell, but the discussions "are not that hot, like one phone call away. We're not."
Claire repeated his desire to retain Reed and said he wouldn't be dismayed if Reed filed for free agency to gauge his value on the open market.
It's believed Dowell is seeking a three-year deal, while the Dodgers are proposing one year or two. Reed is batting .279 with 30 RBIs, and he has committed only five errors. The Los Angeles Dodger record for fewest errors in a season by a second baseman who played 100 or more games is six.
"Just because he files doesn't mean he won't talk to the Dodgers or his interest is diminished. There's no reason for it to," Claire said.
"We went through free agency with Roger McDowell, Mitch Webster, Orel Hershiser. We've probably had 10, 20, 30 guys (file) and the vast majority, we've been able to sign as free agents.
"The best part of all is we want him to sign and he wants to stay. Now, all we have to agree on is the length and the amount of money. The sentiment is the important thing."
Reed's sentiments about the Dodgers are positive. "I'd like to stay. I like it here," he said. He hopes a compromise can be reached. "That's what it's all about," he said.
Piazza's record-tying hit, a bad-hop single against Harkey, capped a rally that gave the Dodgers a 6-3 lead. Rick Wilkins' 30th home run of the season had put Chicago ahead, 3-0, after a botched first-inning rundown.
Jim Gott earned his 25th save. . . . Saturday's starting time has been changed to noon.