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Sunday, July 06, 2008

Codependent: Giants 5, Dodgers 2

Following this one on my phone at the Angels game, I saw Brian Falkenborg's name on the box score and found myself realizing this was a chain of events no one man could reasonably be held responsible for. The first question, of course, is, "Is Joe Torre just stupid?" I notice none of the beat reporters posting recaps from the Times, MLB.com, Daily News (whence the Register outsources its Dodgers coverage these days), Associated Press, nor Press-Enterprise bothered to ask Joe Torre why he went to Falkenborg over Hong-Chih Kuo, who had only seen two innings of work in the prior three days. That is, he's well-rested, and so why was Torre going to something like his fourth- or fifth-best choice? The mind boggles.

There's been much ink spilt over Torre's inexplicable bullpen utilization, and while I haven't been overly critical of it to date, this one crossed the line. Falkenborg has spent most of his career as a quadruple-A player for a reason. Now, maybe this is a plea for help, to the extent that Torre doesn't believe Falkenborg belongs on the team, in which case, fine, but every team needs a mop-up man, and in this role, Falkenborg would seem perfectly suited. If Torre can't be trusted to deploy his players in a reasonable manner, that's a pretty significant issue.

This wouldn't be the first time in recent memory that a Dodger general manager has given the field manager a toy with a fatal edge; see also, Mike Edwards, Jason Phillips at first base, and the reanimated corpse of Jason Grabowski under the Jim Tracy regime, and that was with a far smarter man running the show than is presently at the helm of the Dodgers. In fairness to DePo, some of those players ended up on the major league roster by default, but as Matt Welch pointed out post-mortem, the team was an injury time-bomb waiting to happen. Not that this was the case with Falkenborg's promotion necessarily, but a lack of other more appealing options certainly opens the question of why Ned couldn't promote a mop-up man without situational abuse by Torre. That means Ned has to be thinking for two people, and he's barely got enough brain for one bear. It's too bad, because the Dodgers were briefly in first place as the Padres beat the Snakes 4-2; a victory here could have given the Dodgers uncontested first place in a division where the leader is now two games under .500 at 43-45.

Yahoo boxMLB.com recap

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