Season Hinges on Final Two Padres Games

Having lost two of the three games in the Giants series by giving up late inning home runs and having lost the first game in a three-game set with San Diego, the Dodgers 2007 series now hinges on the final two games of this crucial series with their bitter rival.

The Padres have upended the Dodgers more often than not in recent years and are now 3 1/2 games ahead of the Dodgers for the remaining wild card spot (they also are a game behind the Phillies as well).

A sweep by the Dodgers would have given new life to the team.

A 2-1 split will gain only one game, maybe not enough.

A sweep by the Padres would essentially mean the season is over.

The long six month season comes down to this.

The Dodgers are - pitchers lost for the season aside - essentially healthy. This is crunch time.

No stories. No alibis. No excuses. No tomorrows.

At the beginning of the season, the Padres had Wells and the Dodgers had Tomko. Now it is the other way around. Advantage Dodgers.

Now the Dodgers have Esteban Loaiza, who won his first start in Dodgers Blue -- but he was the losing pitcher last night.

The Dodgers kiddie korps has been worked into the lineup and are no longer awed. Now we will see what they are made of in REALLY clutch games.

Win or go home. Not only is it September, it is almost mid-September. The games undoubtedly will have a playoff flavor. The winner will probably be in the playoffs. It's the playoffs to the playoffs. The two teams know all about each other. There are no secrets here. Truth be known, the two squads are evenly matched.

The adrenal glands have to be working overtime. There is no need for any chemical substances to get "high" for this.

One senses the decision to yank a pitcher gets made quicker in situations like this. Will the vets perform?

Is one or more of the youngsters going to emerge as a "September" player? The tension is palpable.

It comes down to Play Ball or go home.

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