ESPN’s Dan Patrick has a feature where he asks for the weekend’s best & the weekend’s worst performances. The third game between the Phillies & the Dodgers last night featured both for me. There are only four teams left in baseball, the top four, pretty evenly matched, and you get an 11-0 outcome, unbelievable! Late in the game Chip Caray & the Chipettes (Buck Martinez & Ron “You don’t have to call me Darling” Darling) came up with their version of stupid when they were talking about how it’s easier to lose one like this, rather than a tough loss. Where does that kind of logic come from?
Cliff Lee was dominant from the beginning to the end, no runs, three hits, no walks, and striking out ten. Dodgers starter Hiroki Kuroda, wasn’t, he was out of there after going just 1 1/3 innings, surrendering 6 runs on 6 hit, it was like the Phillies were still taking batting practice, on the plus side he didn’t walk anybody, he was wild in the strike zone, not locating his pitches in the strike zone. BIG Ryan Howard ripped a two run triple into the rightfield corner in the 1st & Jayson Werth launched a monster blast deep over the centerfield wall to make it four zip after one. When the game was over, in the 2nd inning, Joe Torre brought in a series of relievers, one looked worse than the next, two walks off Scott Elbert in 1/3 of an inning, Chad Billingsley allowed 2 runs on 2 hits & 2 walks in 3 1/3 innings, Ramon Troncoso walked 2 in 2 innings, and served up some 8th inning BP to Shane Victorino, who nailed him for a three run bomb, the game would’ve been over if there a 10 run slaughter rule (LA would’ve only lost 9-0 if they’d simply forfeited.
Not to second guess Joe Torre, but he did decide to go with Scott Elbert & the injured Hiroki Kuroda (although his interpreter Kenji said he was okay, maybe he got it wrong) over veterans Jon Garland & Jeff Weaver. Dodgers pitchers(?) have walked 7 Phillies in two of the three games so far, they’d be down in the series 3-0 if it weren’t for Charlie Manuel pulling Pedro Martinez in game two after 87 pitches. Cliff Lee demonstrated that you don’t need to throw the ball hard to win, change speeds, spot your pitches in the strike zone, he made it look easy.
I’m not saying LA would’ve won this ballgame, whomever they started, but now the talking heads are wondering whether Billingsley earned(?) a start in place of Kuroda next time, Chad was touched for 2 runs in 3 1/3, remember that?, better than Hiroki, but still, do you think that type of performance will beat Lee?, highly doubtful. Perhaps if Torre had kept Garland & Weaver active, moving Clayton Kershaw to the bullpen, similar to what the Yankees have done with Joba Chamberlain, the Angels have done with Ervin Santana, & the Phillies have done with J.A. Happ this postseason. The postseason is not for the young or the faint of heart.
So now the Dodgers will attempt to regain home field advantage with veteran lefthander Randy Wolf pitching against his old team, with Joe Blanton toeing the rubber for the Phighting Phils. As many of you know I play in a dice baseball league featuring the board game APBA, have done so for 35 years, in the game when you’re beating somebody badly, rolling hit after hit number, your opponent is saying, “get it out of your system”. But this isn’t a dice baseball league, this is real life, their hitters seem spot on, although I did hear somebody ask the question, will Philadelphia need some of these runs tomorrow? Well tomorrow is here today, we shall see what we shall see, can’t wait.