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LAst Night's Action: Tony La Russa Saves Dodgers

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LA Dodgers defeat St. Louis Cardinals 2-1. It’s called the Tony La Russa Syndrome. It’s what happens to managers who tinker with the lineup to the point of absurdity in the hopes of being called a genius. The long-term symptom of this syndrome is the squeezing of fun from the game. It could also lead to completely fucking up World Series (see 1988 and 1990.)

Between the altitude of Denver and the dank armpit of St. Louis, Manager Don Mattingly went crazy. He had No. 4 hitter Matt Kemp hitting third, bottom half hitter James Loney hitting second and No. 3 hitter Andre Ethier hitting fifth. Any hint that he could be a genius was severely questioned since Eugeni0-for-Ilostcount Velez was in the lineup.

So the lineup did the most predictable thing. More overwrought than a teenager’s suicide note, the offense did nothing for eight innings. Despite Dodger pitching, headed by rookie starter Nathan Eovaldi, gave up only one run to the Red Birds - a solo homer to Lance Berkman in the second inning - the offense was impotent aside from James Loney’s three singles and Rod Barajas’ two singles.

However hope was not lost. The raison d’être of the Syndrome, Tony La Russa, proved to the world that he could out La Russa Mattingly in the ninth inning. After starter Chris Carpenter hit leadoff hitter Juan Rivera with a pitch, La Russa went to Arthur Rhodes in the bullpen. After Rhodes struck out Andre Ethier, La Russa went to Fernando Salas. After Aaron Miles tied the game on an RBI triple off of Salas tying the game, La Russa went with Jason Motte. Barajas hit into a fielders’ choice to shortstop Rafael Furcal. Furcal blew the throw home, Miles score and the Dodgers got their first lead of the game tagging Salas with the loss.

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Miraculously La Russa didn’t change pitchers after that and got pinch hitter Casey Blake to ground into a double play.

Javy Guerra, off the heels of the blown save loss in Colorado on Saturday, calmly retired the side in the ninth including Albert Pujols on seven pitches to lead off earning his 11th save of the season. The Dodgers are now 2-62 when trailing after eight innings.

Hopefully Mattingly realizes that his shuffling of the lineup wasn’t a stroke of genius. The only thing that saved Mattingly from his bout of Tony La Russa Syndrome was Tony La Russa himself.


LA Dodgers at St. Louis Cardinals. 5:15 p.m. KCAL9, AM 790 KABC.

Chicago White Sox at LA Angels. 7:05 p.m. FSWest, AM 830 KLAA.