Diamondbacks 2, Dodgers 1

A lot will be said and written about tonight’s eighth inning. Like whether plate umpire Angel Hernandez made the right call (he did, according to Andre Ethier, who was tagged out). Like whether Andre Ethier made a good or bad slide into the plate. (“You have to pick one side or the other,” Joe Torre said.). Like whether Larry Bowa should have sent Ethier in the first place (“I think so. You have to force them to make not only a throw, but a catch and a tag. I never even thought he would do anything other than that.”) But — and you have heard me sermonize on this subject time and time again — Juan Pierre, whether it was on his own or on orders from the bench, did the Diamondbacks a huge favor when he sacrificed the runners into scoring position. He put them one out closer to getting out of the jam, and he might have even put Bowa in a position where he felt he HAD to send Ethier on that shallow fly ball by Matt Kemp, which was the second out. Yes, Pierre might have GIDP’d (in which case there still is a runner on third with two outs). And no, there is no guarantee he would have gotten a hit or a walk or gotten on base any other way. But IMHO, you have to AT LEAST take a shot at it, instead of GIVING the opposition an out. Believe me, Brandon Webb doesn’t need any gift outs. Dodgers fall to 54-54 and two behind the Snakes. There is an old baseball axiom that every team will win one-third of its games, and every team will lose one-third of its games, and it’s what you do with the other one-third that determines your fate. Well, the Dodgers have now won one-third and lost one-third, with that other one-third all out in front of them beginning tomorrow night. So we’ll see. But even with ManRam coming, they can’t afford anything worse than a split in this series.

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  • max_power

    I don’t know Tony. I really don’t think Bowa HAD to send Ethier. Ethier is not a very fast runner, the ball was so shallow Juan Pierre could have thrown him out. And we had Russell Martin coming up in an inning where Webb looked as hittable as he can get. The only reason that play was close was because Jackson’s throw was horrible. A decent throw and Ethier is out by 10 feet. If Ethier doesn’t run we have runners on 2nd and 3rd with Russell up to bat. This whole game was a giant let down after the Manny news. Torre with that horrible lineup (do you really expect to win when you have 5 easy outs in the lineup?), McCourt with that horrible interview where he admitted to Vinny he’d rather trade prospect then spend money, Bowa’s horrible decision to send Ethier and Torre letting Jones try to be a hero in the 9th (he was probably the only guy in the stadium that thought Jones had a chance to get a hit).

  • Brooklyn Dodger

    Tony,

    I agree with your assessment that Pierre should NOT have been bunting. The very fact that the D-Backs were playing their infield in, begged for Slappy to live up to his name, and slap one by the drawn in infield. I don’t think in that situation it’s very constructive to dwell on the negative (i.e., Pierre could GIDP). Winners dwell on the positive, and the Dodgers should have had visions of Pierre hitting his way on. Also, given Pierre’s speed, he would have had to hit the ball hard to GIDP. Hitting the ball hard on the ground with the infield drawn in would likely have resulted in a hit.

    As for Ethier being thrown out, I think Bowa made the right decision. The Dodgers have not been good all year getting runners in with two out (much less none or one out). I think the odds of Ethier scoring on that play were a lot greater than the odds of there being a two out hit. It was an aggressive play (NOT reckless), and as sometimes happens, it didn’t work out. If it had, everyone would have been singing Bowa’s praises.

  • Brooklyn Dodger

    Regarding the player move the Dodgers might make when Manny arrives, I wonder, if as speculated, it has to be DY or Sweeney. DY has done a good job off the bench all year, and given that Sweeney has hits in his last two ABs, the Dodgers may be reluctant to cut him. If Manny truly provides increased run production, it may well be possible to get through the next month with 11 pitchers, instead of the 12 currently being carried. Both Falkenborg (probably waived) and Troncoso (optioned) would appear to be likely candidates to go. Whichever one stays for now would probably be gone once Penny returns from the DL.

    Beginning in September when rosters expand, there will be plenty of arms available. Also, should the Dodgers find themselves in the postseason, they would probably prefer to do so with an extra bat.

  • TeamHasHoles

    Or maybe Andruw will accept a demotion to get his swing together. That would lighten the burden on Torre making up the lineup card each day and we all know Vegas could do wonders for him. He clearly came up to soon from his rehab.

    OK, I’ll wake up from my dream.

    And like I said earlier, if a veterans with versatility off the bench matters, then the Dodgers should be VERY interested in bringing back Paulie. He’s not what he once was, but hey, he’s great in the room, familiar with the team and the city, works counts and is a terrific situational hitter and can play a number of positions, including behind the plate of course.

  • Mario DiLeo

    Statement #1: The Dodgers should not be co-dependant on Manny for their offensive production. Statement #2: After last night’s game, you can see WHY the Dodgers are co-dependant on Manny for their offensive production. Obviously, the boys were waiting for Ramirez to get their party started and the first game of this BEHEMOTH series with Arizona spoke volumes. L.A. really needs to take the next three games before hitting the road in order to make Statement #3: we really are going to take not only the NL West but the pennant…

  • http://www.firenedcollettinow.com/ Fire Ned Colletti Now

    Wow, Tony, I generally don’t comment just to compliment sportswriters, but i’m actually impressed.

    Unlike most of your peers, it seems like you actually have a brain, or at least some semblance of an understanding of statistics. Plaschke would have been writing a love story about Juan Pierre just because he laid down that bunt.

    Anyway, I completely agree with your assessment of the situation, and that giving up a free out with an above average runner already in scoring position is definitely not the way to go. It’s rare that somebody in the mainstream media actually says anything about this, so color me impressed.

    I knew you were my favorite Dodger sportswriter for a reason. :o

  • Manny_Mania

    Paul Loduca and his needles can stay out of the Dodger Clubhouse…

  • Manny_Mania

    oh yeah… and Keep Loduca’s bookie out of the clubhouse too…