09/22/10 2:22 AM ET
Dodgers' two-year West reign officially ends
LA eliminated from playoff bid after back-to-back NLCS stints
By Evan Drellich / MLB.com
A win from any of the three teams above the Dodgers in the NL West or their own loss was all that was needed entering Tuesday, and they got a combination of the two. The Giants won, 1-0, over the Cubs before the Dodgers also lost to the Padres, 6-0, at Dodger Stadium.
"We didn't play well enough to be in a pennant race," said manager Joe Torre, who had made the playoffs for 14 straight seasons between New York and Los Angeles before 2010.
Coming off two consecutive NL Championship Series appearances, the Dodgers were a favorite to get over the hump (in this case, the Phillies) and win the pennant. But a trimmed payroll, injuries across the board and stalled progress from young stars like Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier and Jonathan Broxton kept the Dodgers from making any serious noise.
The Dodgers were alone in first place for a total of four days after Opening Day, plus four more that they were in a tie for the top spot. They were riding high at the All-Star break, when they sent four members to the All-Star Game and Broxton saved the NL's first win since 1996.
But they came out of the break listless. Down 2 1/2 games at the start of play on July 15, the Dodgers lost their next six in a row and 13 of 18. On Aug. 13, they were 10 games out. After winning four in a row at the end of August, a six-game losing streak from Sept. 4-9 all but wrapped up the season.
"It was a really tough going for us the whole second half," third baseman Casey Blake said. "A lot of those were games we had a chance to win or we were in. So obviously, we hurt ourselves, we didn't do ourselves any favors coming out of the All-Star break. It was just an uphill battle the whole way. ... It's disappointing. You feel like a failure."
Second baseman Ryan Theriot was one of several who joined the club late in the season as they tried to retool for a run the final two months of the season. Theriot left a team that was struggling more mightily than the Dodgers, the Cubs, but what he found here was the same result: a quiet October.
"My first thought when I was traded over here was, 'Let's win this,'" Theriot said. "It is what it is. You just regroup next year and try to fix what went wrong."
With 11 games left, the Dodgers can both play spoiler and savor their time together as one clubhouse. They have five games remaining against the contending Padres and Rockies.
"Now we just enjoy these last 11 games with each other," Blake said. "This team won't be together, probably this same group won't be together ever again."
Evan Drellich is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.