I was in the middle of writing something up about the game last night when I happened to turn on Mighty 1090 just in time to listen to a caller from Huntington Beach yell and shout about the Dodgers and how great they are. Dodger fan screaming on and on about how we're a AAA team and how he predicted the sweep. I stopped typing midsentence.
I deleted everything I wrote.
I realized that what I wrote was pitiful. I was comparing the Dodgers to leprachauns. The Dodgers aren't leprachauns. The Dodgers aren't magical. They aren't unicorns. Am I crazy? They're just a team on a hot streak. Padres managed 14 wins in a row in a season where they came in last place. The Dodgers jumping out quick means nothing to me. It's smoke and mirrors. Just like Petco Park not allowing for offense is smoke and mirrors. I blame the San Diego Union Tribune. Nobody's pushing no panic button, but if you think you might like to push the panic button, the Union Tribune beat writers and sports columnists will be there to hold it for you and kiss your finger afterwards.
Anyways, my thoughts on the game, starting from the end. I'll try to be constructive rather than whiny. I thought Bochy managed the bullpen situation poorly. Not so much bringing Aki in instead of Linebrink. Aki's been lights out. Compare the numbers so far this year. They've given up a similar number of base runners. Scotty had given up two runs total, both in his most recent appearance, and Aki had yet to give up a run. Aki's your setup man. That's a fine call.
The mistake I thought was in the top of the tenth. Linebrink pitched a great 9th. He got one out relatively quickly in the 10th, but then bobbled a slow roller up the line. He should have eaten it, but instead, he decided to airmail it to first giving up a man on second with only one out. I thought he was rattled. I looked to see if Trevor was warming up.
Three straight balls to Kent, followed by the "taking all the way" strike and then a foul tip... Kent looks at ball 4 and walks to first. Milton Bradley's up.
This is Milton "I once hit two home runs in this park that both landed on the whiffle ball diamond" Bradley. This is the game. Your setup man has failed you. The second head of the three headed monster is starting to lose it. Let's take the name of the stat literally for once, please. Bring in your closer and SAVE THE GAME! You've got your 2-3-4 hitters coming up. Let's be crazy. Let's ensure that no more runs come in and let the heart of our order have a shot at it. If they fail, you have Trevor in for another inning and then the rest of the bullpen. The rest of the bullpen is solid, but let's try to win it now.
Instead, you know the story. Linebrink gives up the triple. Padres flirt with thoughts of a comeback. Dodgers win. Since many of the Padres fans had left in disgust already, it was a good amount of Dodger blue leaving the park. They were all high fiving each other. Running into old friends from high school. Talking about how beautiful San Diego is and how it's a shame the people who live here don't have a great baseball team to root for. Outside the gates, there were several small groups of Padres fans from the wrong side of town, hanging out. Between you and me, I think they were looking for a fight. What it amounted to was Dodgers fans were very polite as they walked out. We went home and I couldn't fall asleep till after midnight.
- Jason Phillips getting thrown out at home was awesome. The Dodger fans next to me had just commented if Phillips was on first base, the batter could hit a triple and Phillips wouldn't make it home. Sure enough, from scoring position, coming home from a single, his hook slide missed the plate and he desperately tried to crawl back to touch it before Ramon put him out of his misery.
- Nakamura's swing reminds me of a samurai movie. I know it's partly because he's Japanese, but the way he starts, with his bat almost pointing at the pitcher. He looks like he wants to chop somebody's head off. I have visions of Yojibmbo in baseball pants.
- Jim Tracy is going to win, even if he has to make a martyr of somebody first. When Lowe got to 100 pitches, I thought for sure we'd get into that bullpen to do some damage. Then we got to 110. Then 120. Lowe got to 123 pitches before Tracy lifted him. You add in the dozen or so times he threw over to first to try to keep runners close and you have yourself a man who's arm is made of rubber and a manager who looks like a genius. I guess knowing Depodesta will drop a guy and add somebody new with no hesitation gives you the green light to just completely exhaust your resources. Dodger players are just resources. If you root for the Dodgers. You're rooting for Depodesta and Tracy.
- The Padres are fast. Five stolen bases last night was it? They just need to hit the ball where the other team ain't to get those runners in. It's not like Lowe was striking everybody out. We had our chances.