The refrain has been the same in story after story: “The Los Angeles Dodgers, with the best record in the major leagues…” Last night, on an extra-innings game-winning homer against archrival Boston Red Sox, Alex Rodriguez stole that distinction and brought it to the Bronx. The Yankees now boast a win-loss record of 67-42 for a winning percentage of .615 to the Dodgers record of 67-43, and a winning percentage of .609.
A minor statistical distinction, you might retort.
I beg to differ. The trajectories of these clubs are moving in opposite directions, spelling a meltdown for the Blue Crew. Specifically, the Yanks are looking up in nearly every department. They have just beaten the Red Sox a couple of times, something they weren’t able to do at all this season, before this week. The Sox are the team to beat on the way to a World Series Championship, so these wins are very big, indeed.
The Dodgers, even after acquiring reliever George Sherill and with a fully-punished Manny Ramirez in the lineup, are leaking at the joints. Ace Chad Billingsley is showing the strains of having helped to carry the club during the first half of the season. His “use-by-date” in ballgames seems to be expiring earlier and earlier, seldom enabling him to go more than six innings. And he just strained a hamstring.
While the team gets some timely hits, especially from Andre Ethier and Matt Kemp, the overall clout they enjoyed until July seems to be dissipating. And above all, the Dodgers are losing series after series to clubs like the Brewers and the Braves, which they should be beating. While the Dodgers still lead the National League West by six and a half games, that advantage could evaporate easily by early September.
After that, fans might be lucky to hear stories that start with the words, “The Los Angeles Dodgers, with the best record in the National League Wild Card race…”
Dr. Gary S. Goodman is a top speaker, negotiation consultant, attorney, TV and radio commentator and the best-selling author of 12 books. He conducts seminars and speaks at convention programs around the world. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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