With the Dodgers sweeping the Brewers at Miller park, they stand five games back in the Wild Card race. With 34 games left to go, it is tempting to think that there is a linear path for the Dodgers to take if they get a run going. There seems to exist a camp of people that think the Dodgers still have a chance to close that gap. PECOTA says the Dodgers have a 3.5% chance of making the playoffs but if you don't buy PECOTA, you should know that BP isn't too far out of line.
The White Sox sit 3.5 games back from the Twins. PECOTA only gives them a 13% chance to win the AL Central but the Sox only have one team to beat. You say you still don't buy PECOTA and that's fine. However, if the Sox, currently at 69-58, go 23-12 (nearly winning 2/3 of their games), the Sox finish 92-70. The Twins, at 73-55, can go 20-14 (around .600 ball) to beat them. If the Sox play .600 ball and go 90-72, the Twins only have to go 17-17, .500, to beat them. The Twins, to date, have won 57% of their games, so going .500 would mean that the Twins can slouch and still win the division. That is why such a lead is more insurmountable that it appears.
The Dodgers problems are compounded because they have four teams to beat and they are further behind! If the Dodgers go 23-11 (around .667), the Dodgers finish 89-73. You can't tell me that one of the teams ahead of the Dodgers in the Wild Card race won't win 90 total games, negating the Dodgers hypothetically incredible run at the last playoff spot. THIS is what makes the Dodgers chances small. The Dodgers can still go on a tear and it only takes one of the four teams ahead of the Dodgers playing great baseball to beat the Dodgers out.
The Dodgers have shown that they can go on a tear as they went 24-10 from April 30th to June 9th. They were a much better team than they are now. Martin, Furcal and DeWitt are gone and Barajas, Carroll and Theriot are in their place. I don't like saying that the Dodgers don't have much of a chance because I want them in the playoffs but they just aren't that good of a team. I am still watching and still interested but this team is not the same team that went on that streak in the second month of this season.
Manny could be on his way to the South Side today and, while that definitely hurts any chance the Dodgers have of making the playoffs, it's time for him to go. It's no that he isn't interested when he is on the field but it's more that he isn't interested in being on the field. Call me skeptical or ruthless but I don't think that Manny has been committed to doing all that he can to help the Dodgers get to the playoffs. He has the say as to whether or not he takes the field and he has chosen to sit out more times than he probably needed to. Joe Torre isn't exactly pleading to keep Manny. I think he is sick of his act. I just don't get the feeling that the rest of the team and the coaches are that worried about Manny going. The organization is on the hook to pay him years down the road but the team only has him for a month or two at most.
I would rather have Manny than Scotty Pods but I don't think Manny is worth keeping for the rest of the year because I don't think the Dodgers make the playoffs even if Manny is still in house. This series sweep hasn't changed my opinion on the playoff chances of this team. From here on out, the Dodgers are going to have to average a series win. If they end next week having won six or seven games against the Rockies, Phillies and Giants, they will be onto something. If they get there, they will have to continue at that same clip into September to have a chance. That's how far away they are right now.