Interesting comment from Derek Lowe about Lou Piniella

I want to be careful about reading too much into this. I certainly don’t think D-Lowe was trying to rip his old skipper. But it does suggest that Derek’s brief stint as a rookie with the Seattle Mariners in 1997 weren’t the happiest days of his career.

“My name was `son’ in Seattle. That’s all he ever called me. You know, I have heard him speak over the years. I think he has changed a little bit. He was extremely tough, I think, on young guys. I was no different. He demanded a lot, and at that part of my career, I couldn’t really give what he was demanding.
“I think he is great for veterans. He kind of lets you do your thing. But he is a tremendous manager. You look at what he has done here in the two years, I believe, that he has been here, and … I think he knows how to push people’s buttons. He knows how to get the best out of everybody.
“I wasn’t there long enough in Seattle for him to get the best out of me, and ultimately, he traded me. But he is a great manager.”

Sounds like there could be changes

Both Ned and Joe indicated that they are still working through some things with the roster, and Joe specifically mentioned pitching. It’s probably that last spot that initially went to Troncoso. My guess is they might be reconsidering that and thinking of giving it to Proctor or McDonald. The starting lineup for Game 1 is set. It’s as follows:

SS Furcal
C Martin
LF Ramirez
RF Ethier
1B Loney
RF Kemp
2B DeWitt
3B Blake
RH Lowe

Joe said the DeWitt-hitting-in-front-of-Blake has more to do with staggering lefty-righty-lefty-righty all the way down from five through eight.

Roster finalized

First, here it is. Then, some comments below. Keep in mind, this IS subject to change until tomorrow morning.

PITCHERS
Beimel
Billingsley
Broxton
Kershaw
Kuroda
Park
Lowe
Saito
Troncoso
Maddux
Wade

CATCHERS
Danny Ardoin
Russell Martin

INFIELDERS
Angel Berroa
Casey Blake
Blake DeWitt
Rafael Furcal
Nomar Garciaparra
Jeff Kent
James Loney
Pablo Ozuna

OUTFIELDERS
Andre Ethier
Matt Kemp
Juan Pierre
Manny Ramirez

Scott Proctor lost out to Ramon Troncoso because Joe Torre needed a guy who would warm up, not come in, warm up again and then come in if necessary. Proctor, because of health issues he has had this year, isn’t able to do that right now. … Furcal is the starter at SS for now, unless he has more problems with his back or leg, and Berroa is the backup. But DeWitt will continue to start at 2B with Kent on the bench. … Juan Pierre is the only LH bat off the bench with Sweeney not making the roster, but Joe reiterated that Nomar and Kent are good enough hitters against right-handers that it shouldn’t matter. … All of this is subject to change for the second round if the Dodgers get there.

Flying really stinks

Spent a good portion of the day turned sideways in my seat so that I could stick my legs into the aisle, because they simply didn’t fit in the tiny little space between my seat and the seat in front of me. And I was one of the lucky ones who HAD an aisle seat. Poor guy next to me, the one stuck in the middle, must have thought I was the most anti-social jerk he had ever seen because I spent the whole flight with my back turned toward him. And that was AFTER the day began with a minor, predawn confrontation at SFO with one of those oh-so-charming TSA agents, some punk kid on a power trip who couldn’t have been more than about 22. But hey, after a long, frustrating day, here I am in the Windy City, ready to cover the Dodgers in the playoffs for the third time in the past five years. Weather is nice, but it’s supposed to be COLD for tomorrow’s workout and both games. Apparently no news of any kind yet, as I haven’t received an email from Rawitch. But I’m sure there will be plenty tomorrow, when the Dodgers probably will finalize their roster. I’m staying at O’Hare for this trip, so as I sit here looking out my window at a parking lot and a couple of other airport hotels across the way, I could be in just about any city in America. But I’m heading into the Loop (that’s what the locals call downtown) in a few minutes to have dinner with a buddy. The real work begins tomorrow.

Start times

These are all EASTERN, so subtract THREE HOURS for Los Angeles time and ONE HOUR for Chicago time. All of this round is on TBS.

Tue. Sept. 30

7:37 pm MIN @ CWS – Tie-Breaker

Wed. Oct. 1

3:07 pm MIL @ PHI (1)
6:37 pm LAD @ CHI (1)
10:07 pm BOS @ LAA (1)

Thur. Oct. 2

2:37 pm AL-C @ TB (1)
6:07 pm MIL @ PHI (2)
9:37 pm LAD @ CHI (2)

Fri. Oct. 3

6:07 pm AL-C @ TB (2)
9:37 pm BOS @ LAA (2)

Sat. Oct. 4

6:37 pm PHI @ MIL (3)
10:07 pm CHI @ LAD (3)

Giants 3, Dodgers 1

Ned Colletti, who grew up in Chicago and used to take the El to Cubs games at Wrigley, just told us this great story about his Uncle Frank, whom he’ll be taking to the games this week. When the Cubs were last in a World Series in 1945 (they lost to Detroit), Ned’s dad, who was the seventh of eight kids and was 14 at the time, was about to catch a bus to the nearest El stop the night before the first Series game at Wrigley, along with two of his older brothers and a friend. Their plan was to camp out overnight and buy their tickets the next morning, as soon as the window opened. At the last minute, their youngest brother, Ned’s Uncle Frank, came running up the street yelling, “Wait, I want to go with you guys.” Frank, who Ned estimates was 10 or 11 at the time, was told that he was too young to tag along. “They told him, `Frank we promise you that the next time the Cubs are in a World Series, we’ll take you with us.” Sixty-three years later, Uncle Frank is still waiting (although Ned, then the Giants’ assistant GM, did take him to some of the 2002 World Series games against the Angels). But Frank is definitely rooting for the Dodgers in this opening-round series with the Cubs. “Unless (Cubs GM) Jim Hendry is getting him some tickets,” Ned said. … Dodgers finish the regular season 84-78 and win the division by two games over the Snakes.

Today’s lineup, chosen by manager Nomar Garciaparra

He didn’t put himself in it, but he did say he won’t be afraid to send either himself or his bench coach, Mark Sweeney, up to pinch hit. Tim Lincecum pitching for the Giants today and trying to cement his Cy Young credentials, so the boys will have their work cut out for them.

Pierre, LF
Ethier, RF
Kemp, CF
Blake, 3B
Loney, 1B
Dewitt, 2B
Berroan, SS
Ellis, C
Kuroda, P

Dodgers 2, Giants 1

Hong-Chih Kuo was sent for tests after the game, further muddling his chances for making the playoff roster. Joe Torre had intended to bring in Kuo for the ninth inning to test his balky left elbow, but Kuo couldn’t get loose in the bullpen, so he was scratched. He then threw in the indoor batting cage and felt better, but the tests are a precaution. Should know more in the morning.
“He just couldn’t get a feel for the ball,” Torre said.
Billy Sadler, the Giants’ rookie reliever, just can’t stop pumping his fist after striking out Dodgers hitters. You may recall he angered the Dodgers in their previous trip here when he got a little too celebratory after striking out Manny in a key situation. Tonight, he got a little too celebratory after striking out Casey Blake to end the eighth inning with Matt Kemp on third. The result was that both Blake and Kemp said something to him, and Giants pitching coach Dave Righetti reacted to that by running onto the field in the general direction of Kemp, and that caused both benches to momentarily empty. But as is almost always the case when both benches empty, nothing happened and order was quickly restored.
Dodgers go to 84-77 and stay three games ahead of the Snakes, ensuring themselves of winning this truly awful division by at least two games. It occurred to me after the game that these Dodgers, who are division champs, have to win tomorrow in order to finish with the same record as the 2000 Cincinnati Reds, who finished 10 games behind the Cardinals in the Central. The only reason that occurred to me was that was my first year with the first team I covered as a full-fledged beat guy. Also, that was the last time the Reds DIDN’T have a losing season.

Important announcement regarding tomorrow night

This will be in tomorrow’s paper, but in case you miss it:

The Dodgers will host a postseason rally for fans on Sunday night at Dodger Stadium. Admission is free, but there is a $2 charge for all Dodger Dogs, sodas, nachos and peanuts. No alcholic beverages will be available. Merchandise commemorating the team’s division title and 50th anniversary in Los Angeles also will be for sale.
The event begins at 6 p.m., with the main gate opening at 5 p.m. The entire affair is expected to conclude with the team bus pulling into the parking lot, carrying players back from the airport after the team arrives in Los Angeles.

Rotation announced

As we already knew, Derek Lowe and Chad Billingsley will pitch the first two games. As we suspected, Hiroki Kuroda will pitch Game 3. Joe was non-committal on Game 4, but it sounds like Lowe will come back on three days’ rest. There would be an off-day before Game 5, so that likely would be Billingsley on regular rest. If Lowe isn’t the Game 4 starter, it likely would be Maddux, as Joe confirmed that Kershaw will come out of the bullpen for long relief. … By the way, Kuo isn’t out of the mix yet. He’s going to try to pitch an inning tonight, after which a more definitive evaluation will be made. Going to have trouble getting enough innings for everyone tonight. Maddux will start and I’m sure be given the requisite five innings to qualify for the win if he’s ahead. Billingsley expected to two innings.