The Dodgers have been one of the hotter teams in baseball since the All-Star break, but all hot teams cool off at some point. They went in to their most recent three game series against the Cincinnati Reds ready to keep up with their dominance, but couldn’t defeat the playoff contending ball club.
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The Reds, who going into this series were the favorites to win the second Wild Card spot suddenly launched themselves back into the pennant race. With the help from the lightning speed of recently called up prospect Billy Hamilton and solid clutch hitting, they were able to sweep the Dodgers, including two walk off victories.
The Reds are now tied with the Pirates for second place in the constant lead changing NL Central, being just 1.5 games back. They suddenly are back in the race to be division champions, and not just Wild Card winners. All three of these teams will likely make the playoffs, but none of them want to go to the sudden death, one game elimination that is the Wild Card playoff.
The Dodgers were hoping to gain some ground on the Atlanta Braves, who also were swept by the Philadelphia Phillies. These two clubs, who both are almost mathematical locks to clinch their respective divisions are fighting to achieve the important home field advantage in the playoffs, which is given to the team with the best record in the league. The Dodgers are two games behind Atlanta in this chase, and both teams missed the chance to gain some serious ground while the other was swept.
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