Click back to Tuesday. The world was not over. Just the season. At least that’s how it appeared for the Dodgers. They were the dead-in-the-water Dodgers, losing to San Diego, the team they had to catch to secure the National League’s wild-card slot. Adding insult to injury, they were hammered by the Padres, 9-4, prompting calls for the head of, or at least the firing of, Grady Little, at that point their beleaguered manager. Suddenly, following their 6-2 win Saturday afternoon over Arizona’s not-exactly-glimmering Diamondbacks, the we-don’t-want- Little chant is a tree in the forest you did not see fall. A win today to sweep the series with Arizona will put the Dodgers in the NL West pennant race with the Diamondbacks. “The route has not always been enjoyable,” Little said. “The route has not always been easy.” What the route, as crooked as it has been, has done is put the Dodgers on the brink of a successful season. Not bad for a team that, it says here, figured to be a year away. Those who lost faith in the manager conveniently ignored harsh reality. Such as? Such as General Manager Ned Colletti inexplicably let Greg Maddux shuffle off to San Diego and replaced him with Jason Schmidt, a starter with the damaged shoulder. Such as Colletti tried a Shaquille O’Neal-Kobe Bryant formula when he mixed a group of veterans who continue to see themselves as everyday players with a group of write-my-name-on-the-lineup-card-and-play-me kids. Such as fate picked this season to test Lowe with a plague of locusts, a result of which he needed the win Saturday to reach the .500 level at 12-12. At least Colletti cannot be faulted for Lowe’s low season. And, as we add things up today with the Dodgers making a strong run, the point must be made that they are doing so with the team Colletti assembled. Plus, he did pluck Little from the out-of-work line to make him manager. Esteban Loaiza was the losing pitcher Tuesday. The veteran discussed working with a week between starts. He discussed having to throw the ball down the middle to get a strike called. In the end, he shrugged, “It’s baseball.” True. It’s an important point to remember. It’s not football where a statement game or two determine a season. It’s baseball, where the ebb and flow are continual for six or, if things work out, more months. “This is interesting,” starter Brad Penny said. His smile mirrored the smile of all the Dodgers. “This could be very interesting after we play Sunday,” he said. Interesting indeed. The Dodgers are an interesting, if somewhat fractured, mixture of veterans and youngsters. This is not a shocking revelation. To the contrary, it is standard stuff in clubhouses down through the ages. It was that way in ancient times when Walt Alston managed the Dodgers. It was that way back when Tommy Lasorda managed the Dodgers. How did those teams win their championships? They won, first of all, because they had talent. They won because they were professionals who set aside their differences on the field. That’s happening at Dodger Stadium. There’s a reason it’s happening. This has not been a summer of discontent in large part because of Little. His quiet, patient, mature approach has served the Dodgers well. Yes, there are times when his game management (mismanagement?) drives you up the wall. Why in the world would he pull Brad Penny, his ace, a week ago in San Francisco when the situation screamed for Penny to make a statement (yes, a statement)? The thing is, that was just one game. It was just one decision within one game. That’s another reality. The thing is the blend of veterans and youngsters is working. It worked Saturday with home runs from 40-year-old Luis Gonzalez and 25-year-old Andre Ethier. The most important thing is Little has the Dodgers playing in meaningful games with two weeks remaining in the season. The thing is that’s baseball. [email protected] local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! Could it be worse? How about losing starter Derek Lowe because he bruised his pitching hand playing catch? The Dodgers clearly were down and out in Chavez Ravine. Or were they? They have spent the rest of the week kicking in the door to the top floor of the National League West by winning four games in a row.