It Ain't Over 'til its Over

The Dodger offense remained in a funk and wasted a solid outing by Jeff Weaver in a 4-2 loss. A restless sellout crowd of 54,888 did their best to stay in the game but the Dodgers never could overcome a two-run double by former Dodger Marquis Grissom in the second inning. L.A. managed only four hits solo home runs by Olmedo Saenz and Steve Finley. A Dodgers victory today would clinch the division title.

If the Giants sweep the series, the two clubs would meet again in a one-game playoff Monday in San Francisco -- unless both teams are guaranteed a playoff berth, in which case a head-to-head tiebreaker would give the crown to the Giants and the wild card to the Dodgers.

If the Giants sweep the Dodgers and Houston sweeps Colorado, the Dodgers, Giants and Astros would finish in a three-way tie for two playoff spots, in which case the Dodgers and Giants would play Monday to determine the division winner with the loser playing the Astros on Tuesday.

The Dodgers lead the Giants by two games with two to go, but have scored in only seven of their past 38 innings. Take out Tuesday night's five-run rally in the ninth, and they have scored a total of seven runs over that stretch.

Weaver (13-13) pitched to Barry Bonds leading off the second but did it so cautiously that we walked him. After a one-out single by Deivi Cruz put runners on the corners, Grissom drove a two-out pitch from Weaver to the gap in right-center. Some wondered why we was being pitched to with the pitcher coming up next.

Jason Werth got a pop double to right field in the fourth after the first 10 Dodgers were retired in order. Olmedo Saenz got the second hit, a homer, in the fifth to cut the lead to 2-1.

Weaver gave up a two-out double and a single in the seventh to give the hatedgiants a 3-1 lead and Steve Finley led off the bottom of the seventh with the Dodgers third hit, a homer, that cleared the centerfield wall. It was his 35th homer and 12th as a Dodger.

Another run off Mike Venafro in the eighth sealed the deal and despite a double by Cesar Izturis -- the last of four Dodger hits -- Los Angeles never threatened again.

Edwin Jackson developed back spasms and was scratched from his start today. Filling in is Elmer Dessens, who couldn't make it in the starting rotation of the last-place Arizona Diamondbacks earlier this season when he went 1-5 with a 7.68 ERA.

Dessens has made 11 relief appearances for the Dodgers, going 1-0 with a 2.87 ERA. He struggled as a starter for the Diamondbacks, but part of his struggles were because of Arizona's soft defense.

But in this season of unheralded heros, perhaps this is just who we have been looking for.

Dodger Blue Notes--Hall of Fame pitcher Sandy Koufax made his first visit to Dodger Stadium in more than two years Friday night and visited with Tracy and the players before their game with the Giants. There is no indication that they attempted to convince him to start today against the Giants. He was on the field briefly to watch batting practice and then went to the bullpen to work with Ishii and pitching coach Jim Colborn. ... Paul Lo Duca was among the first to congratulate David Ross by phone after his game-winning homer against the Rockies. Guillermo Mota was also on the line screaming. ... Jose Lima was recognized as the Dodgers' nominee for the Robert Clemente Award prior to the game. Hall of Fame broadcaster and former Clemente teammate Jaime Jarrin, Dodgers coach Manny Mota, and teammates Alex Cora and Jose Hernandez participated in the award presentation.