Don’t Give up the Fight

We’ve seen them come from behind time and time again. Most recently, Andre Ethier was the culprit, creating a mob at home plate. Thursday evening, Ethier hit a three-run homer in the bottom of the ninth off Atlanta closer Rafael Soriano.

It was his league-leading fifth walkoff hit of the season. It was the team’s 11th walkoff win and 29th come-from-behind victory. It was a win that allowed the Dodgers to hang onto their league-best record.

“We really have been anything but consistent in the last week of so, but the thing that’s been satisfying to me is that these guys go out there and bust it every night,” said manager Joe Torre, whose team was facing their eight loss in 12 games before Ethier’s dramatics.

Well, Joe, the boys have finally lost the top spot – a position they’ve appreciated since the beginning of the season. And no, they weren’t bounced by the new Harry Potter movie. Get it? Top selling movie spot allegory? Never mind. I’m just trying to lighten the mood.

Fans might argue there is nothing ominous about the Dodgers’ present state. The club (67-43) is just a slight second to the Yankees (67-42). They remain first in the National League West and are still boasting an impressive home record (36-20).

Then again, the Boys in Blue have been inconsistent as of late. Their record has waned (11-11 in 22 games since All Star break). Their chokehold on the West is loosening – divisional opponents Colorado and San Francisco are tied for second at 60-49, just six-and-a-half games back of L.A. And the rest of August is no cakewalk, a schedule, which includes trips to San Francisco and Colorado (both closing in fast) and homestands against the St. Louis Cardinals (lead the NL Central at 60-51) and Chicago Cubs (second in the NL Central at 57-50).

Last season the Dodgers finished the year on a high note. Their home record after the All Star break was 23-9. So far this season, it is 9-6. Again, fans may argue this is nothing to worry about. Except, with all the momentum they had last year, the Dodgers were still stopped short at the NL Championship series.

This year, the Dodgers appeared favorites from the outset. Even with the absence of Manny Ramirez, the Dodgers proved their ability and pushed ahead in the rankings. Now, they appear on the bubble and reluctantly falling amidst a class of “good bets” and “most likelys”.

It appears Joe needs to muster up some inspiration in his slouching club. If the season so far is any indication, the guys will come out just fine if they “bust it” from here on out. It’s up to them to determine what “just fine” means.  

No Discord for These Trojans

The title is a historical reference, worth your research. Essentially, University of Southern California football will maintain harmony and build upon their success from last season.

On Thursday, USA Today put USC behind defending national champion Florida and Oklahoma in the preseason football coaches’ poll. Florida received 53 of 59 first-place votes. Oklahoma and Southern California each received one.

The Associated Press preseason Top 25 will be released Saturday, August 22.

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