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Team’s Future Is in the Card

The more I watch the Dodgers, the happier I am that a “wild card” team can make the playoffs. Because no way will the Dodgers win their division. Forget it. Case closed.

Colorado will win the division. I know this now. The Rockies play hard, day after day. The Dodgers play hard one day, not the next, hard one day, not the next. When the contenders meet in the season’s last days, the Dodgers will be digging for that wild-card spot.

Prove me wrong. I dare you.

Where is this team’s pride? You guys call yourself a good team. Let’s see it.

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Don’t be fooled by Sunday night’s score at Philadelphia. The Dodgers don’t win many that way.

Rarely has there been such an abuse of talent. The chemistry on this team must be atrocious, because the Dodgers over five months have been totally incapable of sustaining a streak of good play for more than one week.

And now it’s supposed to be Hideo Nomo’s fault, for being distracted? Or now it’s Mike Piazza’s fault, for miscalling pitches? Oh, please. Spare me. Without Nomo and Piazza, this team’s record would be something like 40-74.

These guys have more alibis than a defendant.

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I am so tired of hearing (or saying) how good this Dodger team is supposed to be. Philadelphia toys with this team. In the playoffs, Atlanta might sweep these guys with nothing but shutouts.

The only contenders that the Dodgers have truly dominated are the Rockies, usually in that Home Run Derby park of theirs. But let’s see what happens when the whole season is on the line.

How many rookies of the year do the Dodgers need to become a team 10 games above .500? One a year? Two a year?

I thought when a contending team added a rookie sensation each season, that team would become a powerhouse. But the Dodgers are no better now than they were in 1992, before Eric Karros, Piazza and Raul Mondesi came along. Or, before Nomo and Ismael Valdes came along.

Either Tom Lasorda is mis-managing this team or Fred Claire is mis-juggling this team, or both. Or this is the most serious mis-evaluation of talent by management, media and fans alike that I have ever seen. Have we overrated all these players?

Everyone points to shortstop as a problem, and, indeed, it is. I don’t care what Jose Offerman is hitting. In a sport with this many one-run games, one error can be fatal. Gary DiSarcina is living proof of that. Without him, the Angels lose games they once won.

Offerman’s base-running is also a disaster. With his speed, Offerman over the first 113 Dodger games stole a grand total of two bases. He is now a .280-hitting infielder who cannot field or steal.

We have here a team that believes it can win a World Series, but needs a new shortstop, second baseman, third baseman, left fielder and middle-relief man.

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Tim Wallach tries hard, but his aching body has given out again. Delino DeShields isn’t the player we thought he was. Chad Fonville hustles like crazy, but the kid is barely out of Class A. He ain’t exactly Robbie Alomar.

The Dodgers are so hard up, though, they have Fonville playing the outfield , in a pennant race. He knows the outfield like I know quantum physics.

Then they got so desperate that they reacquired Brett Butler, pulling the old Marty McSorley/Jim Abbott boomerang gag that returns a player to his old team, like Meadowlark Lemon shooting a basketball on a rubber band.

Butler isn’t playing center. He’s playing stopgap. But at least he plugs a vast and deep hole for the pennant drive. Can’t argue with that move.

But the Dodgers have played cut-and-paste all season. Billy Ashley goes to the bench, Pedro Astacio goes to the bullpen, Rudy Seanez goes to the doghouse, DeShields goes into such a funk that he talks of retirement--at 26.

Starting pitchers have to throw too many pitches, because the middle relievers can’t be trusted. Todd Worrell protests after being used in the ninth inning of games in which he shouldn’t be needed. Nomo throws so many forkballs that people wonder if his arm is about to go limp, as Fernando Valenzuela’s did.

I no longer believe that the Dodgers have what it takes to win their division. If that is blasphemy, I don’t care. I am not their cheerleader. The only way they can win the National League is if Karros gets to bat nine times a game.

If I am wrong, in October I will say so. I doubt I’ll have to.

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