O Grady Where Art Thou?
The specter of leaving Pedro in the game will never be erased if Grady Little keeps managing like this.
Going into the series, I thought the Dodgers could easily handle the Cub’s offense and take advantage of the Cub’s horrible pitching particularly their bullpen. I expected a Dodger’s sweep with the score being about 10-2 each game. What actually happened was three games where the Dodgers had to come from behind late in the game.
The Dodgers won Friday night’s game despite Grady’s (mis)managing, lost Saturday’s game because of Grady’s (mis)managing and won Sunday’s game because of the Cub’s horrendous bullpen.
Being at the game Friday night, I was witness to the Dodger’s bullpen uncharacteristically faltering while giving up seven runs in the seventh. When Grady sent in Wilson Betemit to pinch hit for pitcher Prozac in the bottom of the sixth with one out and a runner on third, Prozac had only thrown 83 pitches while leading 5-1. There was no reason to take Prozac out the game.
Then in the top of that fateful seventh inning after Joel Beimel gave up a single and got Cesar Izturis to fly out to Useless, Grady put in Yhency Brazoban to pitch to Matt Murton for a righty-righty match-up. A walk, three doubles, three singles, another double and an error later, a 5-1 lead turned to an 8-5 deficit. Grady should have Beimel pitch himself out of the jam, but he simply outthought himself and mismanaged the entire inning.
The saving grace for the Dodgers came from the Cub’s bullpen which have proven unable to hold a lead if their life depended on it. The Dodgers went on to win the game 9-8.
Saturday afternoon's affair showed that Carlos Zambrano could pitch making the Dodgers look absolutely feeble. However when the Dodgers got a chance to pull into the lead with Nomar on second, My Boyfriend on first with two outs in the bottom of the eighth, Grady once again mismanaged. Instead of leaving Viejito to bat against Will Ohman, a pitcher Viejito has had success against, Grady sent Jeff Kent to pitch hit, a position Kent has never been comfortable with. Kent promptly struck out on four pitches. End of inning. 4-2 Cubs.
Sunday's game was a great pitcher's duel. It took Carlos Marmol to hit Useless (who was truly useless offensively) by a pitch with the bases loaded in the bottom of the 11th for the Dodgers to win. Although it's irritating that the Dodgers could only muster four hits, I'm just about tired of complaining about Dodger's hitting for now.
The Dodgers are lucky the National League is full of bad teams. Their road trip will take them to the woeful Washington Nationals, the scrappy Pittsburgh Pirates. They should be able to beat those two teams handily despite being on the road. The trip ends with a three-game stint against the Padres in San Diego which should be a doozy. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that the Dodger-Killer will not be pitching against us in that series.
However the ultimate hope is that Grady doesn't mismanage the team. If he doesn't over think, the Dodgers should do all right.
AP Photo by Kevork Djansezian