Saturday, June 07, 2008
Playing Well? Or Handed A Win? Dodgers 3, Cubs 0
The first moment was in the first inning, with Delwyn Young having reached first on a walk and Jeff Kent at the plate. Kent belted a ball fairly deep but to straightaway center. Jim Edmonds totally misread it, and compounded his error by playing his customary shallow center field position. This meant that not only was he late breaking for the ball, he was just plain in the wrong place by the time the ball did get to the outfield wall (narrowly missing a home run, by the way). The wall-Edmonds collision delayed a return throw to the infield sufficiently long that Young scored the first and only run the Dodgers needed; if Jimmy Hollywood catches that, or even if he fields it cleanly, it's still likely a man on first with two out, or men on the corners with one out. (Edmonds similarly misjudged Young's seventh-inning one-out double, but that proved of no consequence in the game.)
The second moment was in the top of the fourth inning. The Dodgers caught an enormous break when first base umpire Derryl Cousins called Kosuke Fukudome out on what was ruled an inning-ending double play. With men on the corners, the radio team announced he had actually been safe, and at that point, the Cubs would have tied the game had the call been made correctly, which would have extended the inning and brought Jim Edmonds to the plate. This was really the Cubs' best scoring opportunity all game, as they never advanced a runner past first at any other point, and failed even to post an extra-base hit.
The third and final moment was Danny Ardoin reaching on a suicide squeeze in the sixth. Had Mark DeRosa been doing his job, he should have covered first, but as it was, Kevin Hart had nowhere to throw the ball. It was the first squeeze I've seen Torre pull out of his hat all year, and considering the circumstances, a well-timed one, too. It wouldn't have changed the course of the game, though it would have been the second out of the inning, and the Cubs needed all the outs they could get.
Nonetheless, I can't help but escape the feeling that, given the tenuous nature of the RBIs — Ardoin drove in two of the Dodger runs, a fact that can't help but be near-accidental — that this is really indicative of one of those 162 games that the Cubs were just going to lose while the Dodgers were just going to win. The Dodgers won because they didn't give away outs and the Cubs did, compounded by the Northsiders' leaky pitching. That's not a recipe for consistent winning, but the Dodgers won't throw this one back into the pond.
Jeff Kent got tossed after the fifth for arguing balls and strikes after his called looking exit. I dunno, I didn't see it.