Well, at least it was quick. Two hours, five minutes, to be exact, in a game that perfectly illustrated everything that this Dodgers offense is struggling with right now. Good postgame quote from Jeff Kent about the team’s lack of patience:
“In reality, it’s a catch between patience and being aggressive. There is that fine line. There is a time to be patient and a time to be aggressive when you’re an offensive player. There is a time to be patient when you’re coaching, too. There are decisions to be made about your action plan. There is a time to be aggressive and take some action, because you can’t wait too long.
“As long as I have been playing, there has been that fine line. Coaches can say be patient, but in the same breath, they’re saying this (opposing pitcher) throws strikes early. How can you be patient when a guy throws strikes early? That’s the catch, and it’s hard.”
Kent was trying to be as diplomatic as he possibly could. Let me say what he couldn’t, or wouldn’t:
Your humble correspondent and blog host (that would be me) is a firm believer in the Joe Torre approach to hitting, the idea that you make an opposing pitcher work as much as possible, throw as many pitches as possible and that you go to the plate with an idea of exactly what you want to do. The proof is in the pudding — and in the four World Series and six A.L. pennants Torre’s Yankees teams won by taking that approach. But you have to remember, those were VETERAN teams. This is a young team. And it’s just possible that they aren’t ready to take on this cerebral approach to the game just yet. Not that they won’t ever be. But let’s put it this way: this approach has been preached to them since Day One of spring training, and it obviously still hasn’t caught on with any consistency — and because these guys are so young, it might not catch on anytime soon ,either (read: anytime in 2008). These guys are still at a stage of their careers where they would prefer to keep things as simple as possible, and Torre’s way is definitely not simple.
Dodgers fall to 35-41 and remain four behind the Snakes, who lost at Boston.
His name is Doug Eddings, and he has been around for a while. Anyway, he just did something that I thought was great in this era of confrontational umpires. He rang up Nick Swisher to end the third inning, and Swisher responded by dropping his bat in an exaggerated show of disbelief that a lot of umpires would have interpreted as an attempt to show them up. Eddings did it the old fashioned way. He immediately turned his back and walked about 15 feet away from home plate, toward the Dodgers dugout, as the Dodgers jogged off the field. At this point, if Swisher wants to continue the argument, he has to FOLLOW Eddings onto the grass in foul territory. Wisely, he chose not to do so.
Was off my game on that first post today, so we’ll just forget it ever happened. … Nomar appears close to going back out on his rehab. He would have 19 days left, but I doubt it will take that long before he comes back. Torre said it could happen as soon as next week, when the team goes on the road. … Still no timetable on Andruw Jones, either, but he seems to be progressing well.
Apparently, the fact he took ground balls means nothing more than the fact he took ground balls. He still hasn’t run, and that will be the big test he has to be pass before he is allowed to go out on a minor-league rehab assignment. If I had to guess, it still looks like he won’t be back before the All-Star break.
Several of them, in fact, and it appeared effortless. Blake DeWitt was taking them at 3B at the same time, and both players were throwing across to … Andruw Jones standing on 1B. All of this has to be a good sign, but I’m not sure exactly what it means in terms of the next step. I’ll try to find out when I get downstairs.
Here’s tonight’s lineup, with no Ethier or DeWitt. LaRoche starts against a RH
The boys hung four on Paul Byrd before he even recorded an out, but they would get no more. Thanks to the bullpen, it stood up. Dodgers improve to 2-7 in interleague games this season with six more to go. They’re 35-40 overall, and they actually gained a game in the standings today, moving within 3 1/2 of the Snakes, who lost at Minny. … By the way, I’m interested in hearing whether anyone agrees with me on this, but IMHO, there is simply too much artificial noise at Dodger Stadium. Everything that happens on the field, whether it’s a strikeout by the opposing team, a walk by a Dodgers batter, a stolen base by Juan Pierre, Matt Kemp NOT striking out, there has to be some sort of loud sound effect played over the PA. And if nothing happens for a while, they have to play some sound effect anyway, like that super-annoying EV-RY-BOD-Y-CLAP-YOUR-HANDS chant. This is a knowledgeable fan base in Los Angeles, They know when to cheer, they know when to clap their hands, and they know when the Dodgers do something good.
Kent is sitting. Apparently, there is no roster move to add a reliever, or at least we haven’t been given one yet.
I was all set to write about the Dodgers’ bullpen coming through yet again. And then, in the 11th inning, a couple of guys got on against Cory Wade. And then, for some reason, Joe Torre lifted Wade for Scott Proctor, and that’s when it all broke loose. Five batters later, it was Proctor whom Torre was coming to get. Proctor didn’t record an out, gave up three singles and walked two (one intentional), although it was Wade who got tagged with the loss. Proctor had a good inning last night, but something clearly isn’t right with him, whether it’s something physical or something mental. Could it be that he is just worn down from all the innings he has pitched the past couple of years? The Dodgers, meanwhile, appear to be going nowhere. They still can’t beat American League teams — 1-7 this year and 16-40 since the start of 2005. They fall to 34-40 for the season. Snakes are scoreless in the second at Minnesota, but does it really matter?
Sitting here last night, I couldn’t help but be reminded of the press box, er, sweat box, at old Busch Stadium in St. Louis. It was all concrete, so the chairs would send shivers down your spine every time you scooted forward or backward. Even the counter top that you worked on was concrete, although they painted it ballpark green. There might have been no place in America more miserable than St. Louis in June, July and August, what with the combination of the heat, the suffocating humidity and that old stadium that thankfully is long gone now, But I have to say, this soon-to-be-replaced-and-moved box at Chavez Ravine wasn’t much more comfortable last night. I can’t remember, in the four-plus years I have lived in Los Angeles, there EVER being humidity on the level of last night. When you’re working, you just kind of tune it out and press ahead. But by the end of the night, as I was leaving, I just felt nasty and disgusting. I’m sure the Indians felt right at home, though. … No news or lineup yet today. I’m sure the lineup is coming shortly. As for news, I can’t imagine there is going to be that much today, but we’ll see.
After the boys rallied for two in the eighth and two in the ninth to erase a 4-0 deficit, this smelled a lot like the sort of emotional victory that could have turned their season around, especially with Arizona having already lost. But after they left the bases loaded in the ninth, and after Takashi Saito gave up two in the 10th, it smacked of the sort of game that could send them reeling. Only time will tell. At any rate, the Dodgers left 11 men on base, eight of them in scoring position and five of them at third base. Juan Pierre was stranded at third base three times, including as the potential winning run in the ninth. Dodgers fall to 34-39 and remain 4 1/2 back.