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Tuesday, August 12, 2008

My Catharsis, My Catastrophe: Dodgers 8, Phillies 6

I awoke Monday morning about 4:00 AM after having had probably too much wine before going to bed, which had the unfortunate side effect of depriving me of about two hours of sleep. (I managed to get horizontal long enough to make it to the bare minimum of five hours I need before flaming out.) After battling insomnia for a while, I came in to my office and started writing a piece I wasn't very happy with about the state of the Dodgers, how the trades they're making stem from the same kind of misreading as the Mariners did in this past offseason, and how the Dodgers continue to botch just about every front office decision put in front of them.

I abandoned that, not that those things aren't true, but because they're so redundant. Had I been reading much of the Dodgers blogosphere at all, I would have realized that my sudden, horror-stricken revelation that not even Logan White is immune to the strange wasting disease infecting the rest of the Dodgers front office was a position others, most notably Tom Meagher, were simultaneously coming to independently.

These days when the Dodgers win, it's almost by accident, as if everyone in the organization were playing "pin the tail on the donkey" with baseball bats. Jon's seeking pride, not solace in a team that can't pull it together consistently, whose closer suddenly has the yips. But wait, it's not the closer, it's the damn stone gloves in the infield. It's not leaving Chin-Lung Hu at the major league level when they could get a washed-up Angel Berroa. The names string endlessly back, a series of patches that run like scar tissue around the core of this club: Pablo Ozuna, Andruw Jones, Juan Pierre, Jason Schmidt ... That is to say, the clank you hear is a direct consequence of Ned Colletti. T.J. Simers, whom etiquette and good sense prevents me from quoting 99 times out of 100, finally noticed Joe Torre's favoritism, and finally called shenanigans:

And yet the Dogs still think they're good enough to make the playoffs, while sending Pablo Ozuna and his .143 batting average to the plate, followed by Berroa at .210, maybe pinch-hitter Mark Sweeney at .127, and if anyone gets on, Jones picking up a bat.
It's gotten so bad that even Torre finally confessed he's done with seconds:
Meanwhile, Juan Pierre is really the odd man out. Although Torre initially indicated after the acquistion of Ramirez that Pierre would get the bulk of playing time ahead of Ethier, it hasn't worked out that way. Ethier came into Sunday's game 11-for-19 lifetime against Matt Cain, then went 2-for-3 against him with a triple, RBI and two runs scored.

"He's seeing the ball really well right now and he has a little more pop [than Pierre]," Torre said. "As long as he looks comfortable, it's easy to watch right now."

I guess this constitutes progress, but it shouldn't take an entire season to notice the obvious.
Last night the Dodgers' offense did what it was supposed to with the addition of Manny Ramirez, and bashed Kyle Kendrick for seven runs, chasing him in the fourth. It wasn't their best offensive performance we've seen all year, but it was very near to it, pounding out six runs in the third.

That big early margin made the game look like the rest of the outing might be a cake walk. However, the Phils scratched away on a couple Ryan Howard groundouts in the fourth and sixth, hardly the stuff of big innings for which this team is famous. Philly edged closer still with a two-out rally that scored a pair in the seventh against Chan Ho Park, whose 3.09 second half ERA is almost a half a run higher than his first half — in small sample sizes to be sure.

James Loney plated the eighth and last Dodger run in the eighth with a double that cashed in Pablo Ozuna, who somehow got on base; given his numbers, my preferred theory is divine intervention, but the game log records it as a single. That led up to the top of the ninth, and Jonathan Broxton's adventures. Broxton started wild, giving up a single to Greg Dobbs, and walking catcher Carlos Ruiz. With nobody out, it looked like he was in for another long and possibly humiliating outing, and had he entered the frame with anything less than a three run margin, he would have blown it indeed, because he eventually gave up a two-out bases-loaded single to the Phils' excellent hitter, second baseman Chase Utley. Brox got Ryan Howard to ground out to his counterpart at first, and that was the end of the game, but it had far too much in the way of déjà vu for anyone watching to be comfortable.

It's a win against a contending team, so from that angle, yay for the Dodgers, but at this point a series split is about all I would hope for. Anything after that is gravy.

Yahoo boxMLB.com recap

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