In the wake of a 7-4 loss to the Colorado Rockies on Friday night, Manager Don Mattingly said he was expecting the Dodgers to have to win a game in San Francisco next week to secure the National League West championship.
“If we can’t win there and can’t get it done there, then we don’t deserve to do it,” Mattingly said.
Only thing is, that might not be necessary.
Less than two hours after the final out of the Dodgers’ series-opening defeat to the Rockies, Kelby Tomlinson struck out to seal the second-place San Francisco Giants’ 5-4 loss to the Oakland Athletics.
The magic number for the Dodgers to win their third consecutive division title was down to two.
The Dodgers can secure the division championship as early as Saturday, if they beat the Rockies and the Giants fall again to the Athletics.
Regardless of what the Giants do, the Dodgers can guarantee themselves the NL West crown by taking the remaining two games at Coors Field this weekend.
“That would be nice, ideal for us, if we can take care of business now,” Crawford said.
The four-game series in San Francisco that starts Monday would be turned into a glorified exhibition series. Such a development would be welcomed by the Dodgers, who are winless in six games at AT&T Park this season.
The Dodgers find themselves in this position despite losing five of their last seven games.
In their latest defeat, they again replaced their starting pitcher with a pinch-hitter in the fifth inning. Only on this time, the pitcher in question didn’t protest his removal, as Clayton Kershaw had the day before.
There was nothing for Mike Bolsinger to argue.
Bolsinger served up three home runs in a fourth inning that marked the end of another disappointing night for the right-hander.
He was charged with seven runs (four earned) and seven hits in four innings. He has pitched a total of 12 innings in his last three starts.
“It’s kind of embarrassing at this point right now,” he said.
Mattingly excused the performance, pointing out Bolsinger has pitched on an unusual schedule since returning from triple-A Oklahoma City this month. His previous two starts were made on seven days’ rest.
Bolsinger had trouble explaining what happened.
He made an error fielding a toss from first baseman Adrian Gonzalez in the first inning — a run scored in that inning to tie it, 1-1 — but he said he was otherwise pleased with how he felt in the first two innings.
“After that, it kind of went downhill,” he said.
Corey Dickerson doubled in Carlos Gonzalez in the third inning to move the Rockies in front, 2-1.
Dickerson scored when Justin Morneau shot a ball through Adrian Gonzalez’s legs and into right field. Rafael Ynoa tripled in Morneau to make it 4-1.
There were no fielding errors for Bolsinger to blame in the fourth inning, when he served up solo home runs to Charlie Blackmon, Gonzalez and Dickerson. The deficit increased to 7-1.
Bolsinger was aware his already slim chances of making the 25-man postseason roster were diminishing.
“I definitely haven’t put myself in a very good position for anything,” he said.
The game marked Chase Utley’s second career start at third base, as Justin Turner and Corey Seager were both given the day off.
Seager’s legs are feeling heavy and Mattingly said he wanted to be cautious with his 21-year-old rookie.
“I’m going to need him to play short in this series,” Mattingly said, referring to how he plans to rest 36-year-old shortstop Jimmy Rollins at some point in the three-game series.
Seager had started 16 consecutive games before Thursday, when he didn’t play in a 6-3 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Left-hander Brett Anderson (9-9, 3.52 ERA) will face Colorado right-hander Kyle Kendrick (6-13, 6.37) on Saturday at 5 p.m. PDT at Coors Field. TV: SportsNet LA; Radio: 570, 1020.