Is It Time To Panic? Dodgers Lose Third Straight

Derek HartCorrespondent ISeptember 30, 2009

LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 19: Jon Garland #21  of the Los Angeles Dodgers pitches against the San Francisco Giants at Dodger stadium on September 19, 2009 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Jacob de Golish/Getty Images)

In 1964 the Philadelphia Phillies, under manager Gene Mauch, were having their best season in nearly 15 years.

Led by pitching ace Jim Bunning, who threw a perfect game that year, and slugger Richie Allen, they had a six game lead in the National League with ten games to go; the pennant and a World Series date with the New York Yankees seemed safely theirs.

The Phillies then proceeded to lose ten straight games and the N.L. crown to the St. Louis Cardinals. It was an epic collapse that Philadelphia fans bitterly remember to this day.

I'm mentioning this because if the Dodgers don't straighten up, that same fate may befall them.

This is particularly the case considering they lost their third straight game overall to the San Diego Padres last night, 3-1, after dropping three of four to the woeful Pittsburgh Pirates, a team that L.A. should have beaten handily. 

With their magic number at one, the Dodgers should have popped the champagne and celebrated their National League West Division title last week.

Instead, they have been outscored in their last two games 14-2, and hold a three and a 1/2 game lead over Colorado after having been up by six games a week ago.

And Manny Ramirez, unfortunately, has not been helping much. He has been hitting just .250 this month, and taking far too many strikes in my view.

Not that I'm putting the blame of this potential collapse solely on him, however; Chad Billingsley, while pitching better in his last two starts, has an ERA well over 5.00 with a losing record and a loss of control in key situations since the All Star break.

Jonathan Broxton has pitched well as of late, but he blew a key save this past weekend in Pittsburgh, giving up a 5-2 lead in the bottom of the ninth to the Pirates and eventually losing what would have been the division clincher.

Convention says that the Dodgers will eventually clinch, but if they continue to play like this, it will be a monumental disappointment.

I don't think it's time for Dodger fans to panic just yet, but...

I definitely do not want to see what happened to the Phillies 45 years ago happen to L.A.