"It ain't over 'til it's over".-Yogi Berra.
Well Dodger fans, it's over. Though some (including me) had been counting the team out of the 2010 playoff race several times this summer, tonight's backbreaker killed the already weak psyche of the Dodgers and just might have buried them for good.
With a 9-2 lead going into the bottom of the 8th inning, it looked like Clayton Kershaw would finally pick up win no. 11, the Dodgers would win two out of three in Philadelphia, and most importantly, quietly keep pace with the San Diego Padres and the San Francisco Giants in the NL West.
Then the barrage happened.
Ronald Belisario looked like a confused man on the mound in the 8th inning, looking like a guy who has not pitched in over a month (which he has not). Kenley Jansen's stuff looked OK but he also allowed an inherited runner to score. It is pitiful that of all people, it was George Sherrill who got two outs in the 8th inning and kept the game at 9-6.
However, that was not good enough.
Jonathan Broxton has not looked like an All-Star for most of the summer. His fastball was always straighter than a pin but its sheer velocity would make up for the lack of movement.
However, losing velocity on his fastball, his tendency to fall in love with his slider, and his past history in Philly all equated to another blown save for Broxton, this time at the hands of Carlos Ruiz.
I always believed this core of the Dodgers had weak psyches and mental makeups. From Chad Billingsley's issues in the past, Matt Kemp's issues this season, Andre Ethier's temperament, and Broxton's nightmares against the Phillies, they have not done much to strengthen their mental sides of the game.
The Dodgers had taken on the personality of their manager. Complacency and inconsistency had taken over the Dodgers in 2010.
Had the Dodgers held on for the win tonight, they would have been seven games out of first place but with some momentum heading into Atlanta for a four game series. Now I would not be surprised if the Dodgers got swept by the NL East leading Braves.
A loss like tonight can wear on teams for weeks, especially ones that are as weak-minded as the Dodgers are.
I hope within the next few weeks, Joe Torre announces his retirement, Kenley Jansen gets some legitimate opportunities to close games, and Dee Gordon and other minor league prospects get to show their talents at the big club.
Turn out the lights, the party's over. There will be no threepeat in Chavez Ravine this year.
Wait until next year....unless Frank and Jamie still own the team.