Didn’t see this one coming. Guess is has something to do with the team’s sagging offense. DeWitt was batting .500 (11 for 22) over a four-game stretch that ended on Saturday, but according to his day-by-day stats on milb.com, he hasn’t played since. Not sure why, but I’ll try to find out. … Ozuna had become nothing more than a late-inning defensive replacement and pinch runner, but I would imagine if he clears waivers, he’ll be back next week. … A few minutes ago, the club also announced that Cory Wade was coming off the DL and that Tanyon Sturtze had been DFA’d, but they quickly retracted that. Not sure why, unless they decided to wait a couple of days because Cory is still sore.
Reported a few days ago that it was going to include Ivan De Jesus, Lucas May, Andrew Lambo and Scott Elbert. It will be rounded out by Justin Orenduff, Travis Schlichting and Brent Leach, and the “taxi squad” — these are extra guys who are only allowed to play on Wednesdays and Saturdays — will consist of Russell Mitchell and Jamie Hoffman. You can look all those guys up on milb.com, and a lot of you already know who they are, but suffice to say, they are ALL legit prospects. If they weren’t, they wouldn’t be headed to the AFL, which is reserved for the elite prospects around baseball. The Dodgers contingent will play for Surprise. … According to an item in today’s Washington Times, when Greg Maddux takes the hill for the Dodgers tonight, he will become the first 350-game winner to pitch in Washington since Walter Johnson’s final appearance of his career on Sept. 22, 1927. Only one other 350-game winner has ever pitched here is some guy named Cy Young, who last pitched here on July 29, 1911.
Over their past three games, the Dodgers have gone 4 for 39 w/RISP. And the thing is, two of those four hits DIDNT EVEN SCORE THE RUN. It has become almost comical — and yes, Joe Torre admitted after the game that he is getting to the point where he has to laugh to avoid crying. Every time the Dodgers get a hit with a man on second but the ball is hit so hard the runner has to stop at third, you KNOW they’re not going to get him home. The entire visiting writers’ row in the press box burst into laughter — not AT the Dodgers, mind you, but at the sheer absurdity of it all — when, with the bases loaded and nobody out in the sixth, Nomar Garciaparra lined out to third and Nats 3B Ryan Zimmerman managed to double Manny Ramirez off third. Nats manager Manny Acta then walked Casey Blake to load the bases, even though the runners had been on first and second, to bring Derek Lowe to the plate. The question was asked of Joe after the game whether he considered pinch hitting in that spot, and his answer was that he still needed a pitcher in the game who could shut down the other team. At any rate, Lowe struck out, and the Dodgers had wasted another chance. … The Nats, by the way, came into yesterday ranked last in the N.L. in hitting, next to last in fielding and 12th in the league in pitching. Oh, and they also had the worst record in the majors. And for one night, at least, the Dodgers couldn’t hang with them.
This is for tomorrow’s paper. It is important to reiterate here that Joe did NOT hear Hershiser’s comments directly, nor did I, so this is kind of awkward reporting.
Dodgers manager Joe Torre took exception on Tuesday to comments made by former Dodgers World Series hero Orel Hershiser during the ESPN2 broadcast of Monday night’s loss at Philadephia, although it wasn’t immediately clear what those comments were. Torre said he had been told of them secondhand, and Hershiser, who served as an in-game analyst for the cable channel, declined a request from the Daily News immediately after that game to clarify what he had said on the air.
“Just listen to the broadcast,” Hershiser said. “I don’t want to say it for the paper.”
According to multiple sources, Hershiser, who also worked a Dodgers-Phillies game in Los Angeles for ESPN2 on Aug. 11, questioned the Dodgers’ passion and team chemistry.
“He came in (before Monday’s game) and talked to me, and I did a couple of interviews,” Torre said. “(But) I never got any questions along those lines. I don’t know where that came from. For me, I don’t think there is any prototypical passionate team that has guys hanging from lockers and stuff. This game really is about determination moreso than showing somebody else what they think it should look like.”
Hershiser pitched for the Dodgers from 1983-94 and again in 2000 and was the Most Valuable Player of the 1988 World Series. He also seemed for a time to be a candidate for the team’s managerial vacancy after Jim Tracy was fired following the 2005 season.
“I have always been a proponent of the fact you have to eliminate the highs and lows in this game, because you have to keep it on an even keel and maintain it for 162 games. I don’t know any clubhouse where, if you have lost three (in a row) and five of six, you’re going to see guys jumping around and doing things other people consider positive.”
They seem to have created quite a stir on the blogosphere today, but I haven’t heard them for myself, and so I’m obviously a little leery of writing much about them. I did receive an IM during the game last night (from my dad) telling me that Orel was very critical of the Dodgers during the ESPN2 broadcast. I actually waited for Orel after the game (at the cost of missing Torre’s postgame), but when I got him, he didn’t want to comment for the paper. “Just listen to the broadcast,” he said. Tough to do when you’re on a deadline, and frankly, I don’t know that you can even get that on-line anywhere. From what I have been told, he said something about walking through the clubhouse before the game and seeing a “passionless” team, although I don’t have any proof that that is the word he used (even though I have heard it from a couple of different sources). But if anybody can turn me on to a web site where there might be actual footage (or sound) of these comments, I would love to go there.