Wednesday, July 21, 2010

It's just one game - right?

It sure is adding up to be more than just one fuck-up, however.

The umpires got it wrong: They gave a warning after Tim “Bitch Witch” Lincecum threw at Matt Kemp’s head and then hit him in the back as well In that at-bat, Lincecum threw three pitches and they all came closer to Kemp than they did to going over the plate. The umpires should have enforced the warning when Tim Lincecum nearly hit Russell Martin. 

They could have let Don Mattingley’s “double visit” slide but I understand why they didn’t. They failed, however, to let Broxton stay in and continue to face the batter he was pitching too before he exits the game.. Chad, you got it right. The Dodgers are at fault for losing this game but, in point of fact, the umpires messed up. 

The Dodgers were wrong: This was not the game to play these macho games when you have had great results against divisional opponents (23-6 before the start of this series)!  You don’t piss away a lead that comes from a poor Tim Lincecum start. Matt Kemp needs to stop committing baserunning errors. You don’t force the umpire’s hand when you don’t have a bullpen! You don’t go against your organizational plan of not using Broxton when you said that you wouldn’t use him! You don’t use George Sherrill in any meaningful situation!

Two things need to happen: 

1.)    The Dodgers organization need to enact a policy that states that the team will not engage in beanball games despite incitement from an opponent and every coach needs to be on the same page regarding protocol for arguing calls and non-calls and protocol regarding bullpen use. That way, starting pitchers do not get kicked out of games, bench coaches do not tip the favor scales of the umpires and bullpen mismanagement does not occur when the manager is gone.

All of these mishaps are egregious and uncalled for. Joe Torre is a great manager  but some of the mistakes that have been made recently are uncharacteristic of him and the beanball nonsense that went on mars this organization and Joe Torre’s reputation in my opinion.

2.)    The bullpen needs to be reworked and it must be done from within. You can keep Kerry Wood, Kevin Gregg and anyone else that might be available by trade. The Dodgers produced a lot of relievers that performed well but have faltered as of late. A good organization continues to replace those that falter. Ramon Troncoso goes down and gets work and Ronald Belisario gets help but let’s install the expectations that the relievers who replace Troncoso and Belisario can get the job done.

Broxton is still our closer. Let’s get that straight. He is one of the best in the game and, instead of blaming him, let us demand that he be used correctly. Kuo is our lefty setup guy.  I don’t care how unseemly it is, install Travis Schlichting as our righty setup guy. If he can’t do it, try Carlos Monasterios. If he can’t do it, try Justin Miller. If he can’t do it, try Kenley Jansen or Javy Guerra. If he can’t do it, try someone else.

As for George Sherrill, bury him and get Scott Elbert or Brent Leach up here. Both of them can do a better job than George Sherrill can do as of now.

I don’t usually make definitive and radical statements regarding baseball personnel and I don't usually advocate the use of marginal relievers. I know that it is baseball and it is a long season. I know that things just turn around. I would just like to think that the Dodgers have a bullpen filled with Broxton, Kuo and FIVE other pitchers who can go into a game and get the guy out that they are facing. I know how fragile and weak bullpens inherently are. Established veterans can fold despite not having a record of doing so.

I would just like to think that a team would be able to have different answers than riding their closer and lefty setup man farther than they should and be able to call upon a reliever that isn’t George Sherrill in an important situation.


If I can say one more thing as I have stepped away from the mound already and turned around. Please, Dodgers. Win this next game so that we forget about this past game, which was only one game, one loss. Please, as an organization, carry yourselves as an organization that has enough confidence that they can win games that they should win, no matter what circumstances are. Just act like you have a clue.

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