LOS ANGELES -- The good news about the September schedule for the Dodgers is they play some of the clubs they are chasing.
The bad news is that they're chasing those teams because the Dodgers haven't played well enough to be the team being chased.
"We have to win every game," manager Joe Torre said. "You see what happens to San Diego, losing six straight. Anybody is capable of losing a handful of games. Things can change very quickly. The only thing is, we need to be there when it happens. It's not unlikely or unusual for the opportunity to present itself, but we have to do our part."
With a third consecutive National League West title pretty well out of reach, the Dodgers have been focused the past few weeks on the Wild Card. But perhaps a bigger obstacle than a 6 1/2-game deficit heading into Wednesday's play, is the fact the Dodgers must leap over four other teams and have no remaining games against two of them -- the Phillies and Cardinals.
Torre's Dodgers open a three-game series at home with the Giants on Friday, the first of nine series this month, playing all four division opponents, three games at home and three games away in each. The Dodgers sat five games behind the Giants and two behind the Rockies entering Wednesday's series finale with the Phillies.
The only series against a team out of the NL West comes next week, when the Dodgers play a four-game series in Houston. They won both games against the Astros at Dodger Stadium earlier this year.
The Dodgers have enjoyed their greatest success this year within the division, with a 30-18 mark. They are 6-6 against San Francisco, 7-5 against San Diego, 7-5 against Colorado and 10-2 against Arizona.
Of the final 28 games, 16 are on the road, where the Dodgers are 28-37. The three-city, 10-game trip that starts Monday in San Diego -- then goes to Houston and winds up in San Francisco -- is the longest of the year.
The Dodgers play teams with winning records in 21 of the final 28 games, the only teams with losing records being the Astros and D-backs.