Cardinals @ Dodgers September 16, 2012: Live Free or Fife Hard

September 16, 2012 at 12:17 pm | Posted in Game Threads | Leave a comment

So the immutable laws of nature hold true: I drop off the grid, and good things happen. In this case, that’s two wins and 12 runs scored after a prolonged stretched of ineptitude to pull even with St. Louis for the second wild card spot. That’s a walkoff hit from Juan Rivera, more production from Luis Cruz after a recent slump, and Matt Kemp doing his best to offset his own offensive power outage with a laser of a throw from center field to nail Yadier Molina at third.

Of course, with good things always come bad, it seems, and you’ll notice that for the second Sunday in a row, Clayton Kershaw‘s nagging hip injury is preventing him from starting the final game of a huge series. Kershaw’s status for the rest of the season is uncertain and surgery hasn’t been ruled out, and the absolutely unbelievable run of injuries continues. This team is now without each of their top three starting rotation members from camp, along with the extended absences from Kemp, and we’re actually to the point where Don Mattingly is actually saying things like “Josh Beckett would be his #1 starter if Kershaw doesn’t return.” Just think about that for a second, won’t you, and then realize that it’s hard to argue. Are Chris Capuano, Aaron Harang, or Joe Blanton noticeably better? Hard to say they are. But if the team misses the playoffs, it’s because Mattingly doesn’t know what he’s doing, right? Or am I getting the narrative wrong there?

Cardinals
Dodgers
CF
Jay
LF
Victorino
RF
Beltran
RF
Ethier
LF
Holliday
CF
Kemp
1B
Craig
1B
Gonzalez
C
Molina
SS
Ramirez
3B
Freese
3B
Cruz
2B
Schumaker
2B
M.Ellis
SS
Kozma
C
Treanor
P
Wainwright
P
Fife

Yet with all that, the Dodgers can still come out of this weekend with control of a playoff spot if Fife and friends can take one more from the Cardinals. (Yes, there’s an argument to be made for John Ely instead, but it’s really not a big enough difference to care that much.) For me, this is win/win. If Fife pitches well and the Dodgers win, they they’ve taken three of four and head into tomorrow’s off-day with momentum. If he gets lit up, as we’re all sure he will soon enough? Then we can hopefully stop hearing things like “herp derp 2.16 ERA”.

Fife is backed by a lineup that’s a little surprising, considering that whipping boy Shane Victorino is back atop the order and Mark Ellis has been pushed all the way down to seventh, the first time all season he’s hit lower than second. To be honest, I don’t really get it, but I do like that Andre Ethier is still hitting second. A.J. Ellis, 0-for-his-last-16, gets the day off, though it would have been nice to see Tim Federowicz catch Fife, given that they were teammates in Albuquerque all year and that Matt Treanor, while awesome, is terrible.

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