Colorado sweep a 'wakeup call' for Dodgers
Ellis shifts focus to taking care of business vs. Giants
DENVER -- The Dodgers battled baseball's equivalent of altitude sickness this weekend, swept in a three-game series at Coors Field by the Rockies for the first time in eight years.
Presumably headed to the postseason, the Dodgers saw their magic number remain at 2 after a 12-5 loss Sunday. Although the Dodgers lead the Giants by six games with seven to play, pitcher Alex Wood said in the Dodgers' clubhouse what every frustrated fan must be thinking.
"It's pretty embarrassing to come in here and get swept this late in the year," Wood said. "I think if you look at two teams and knew nothing about baseball, watch this series and you'd think the Rockies are headed to the postseason. It's a real big wakeup call here, going into four games in San Francisco. It's time to turn it on. I think we will and finish strong."
The big difference between the four-game series against the Giants that opens Monday night and the three games in Colorado is that Zack Greinke and Clayton Kershaw start the first two games against the Giants after not pitching in the Rockies series.
If the Dodgers win any of the four games, they clinch a third consecutive division title and postseason bid. They would face the Mets, who have a 1 1/2-game lead over the Dodgers for home-field advantage and own the home-field tiebreaker.
"Have we ever done anything easy?" A.J. Ellis said. "We were talking coming into September that it all pointed to the four-game series up there, and now we have a chance to earn it. It would be fitting for a Dodgers-Giants rivalry.
"You know the Giants are reading this and, no disrespect to them, but I have all the confidence in this team and we're going to go there and do what we need to do."
Ellis, who lives in Milwaukee, channeled Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers for advice to fans in panic mode over seven losses in the past nine games.
"They started 0-2 and he spelled out to Packers fans, R-E-L-A-X," Ellis recalled. "Of course, they lost in heartbreaking fashion, so that's where we're headed. No, not really. We still know where we're going, where we're headed. The road's a little bumpy, but we still see the finish line. We've got a couple good guys pitching the next two games and we'll take our chances."
Because of assorted injuries and an opposing left-handed starting pitcher Sunday, the Dodgers fielded a lineup without Adrian Gonzalez, Justin Turner, Corey Seager, Andre Ethier or Carl Crawford. The first four Dodgers runs scored on batted balls that did not leave the infield, yet this game was winnable, as they went 4-for-20 with runners in scoring position, compared to Colorado's 8-for-15.
Wood, presumably auditioning for the third starter's spot in the best-of-five National League Division Series, followed a Brett Anderson loss by allowing eight runs in 5 1/3 innings, but he said the only pitch he'd really want back was a 3-2 fastball that Nolan Arenado slugged for a three-run homer, en route to his career-high five RBIs.