We’ll find out tonight, one supposes. The Dodgers have ONE CHANCE to get this right, or ride off into the offseason. If they manage to get it done, they’ll face the same dilemma in Game 6, this time on hostile turf. By the way, in the history of best-of-seven series, only three teams have fallen behind three games to one and come back to win the series without benefit of home-field advantage, the 2003 Florida Marlins being the last to do it in that year’s NLCS with the Cubs.
Today, he was asked abot lifting Kuo when he did. Turns out, he went with him a little longer — one batter longer, to be specific — than he had originally planned.
“He was obviously electric the way he pitched in the seventh. He went out for the eighth, and I watched his first three warmup pitches, and they just looked like he had a tough time getting loose. And then, I watched him pitch to (Ryan) Howard (who singled to lead off the inning). That was why I took him out. I don’t think the ball was coming out of his hand as easy, and that was why I removed him in that part of the game.”
Torre also said that if there were any physical issues with Kuo, he wasn’t aware of them. Team has the day off today after Joe canceled the workout. Phillies working out now.
It’s close to being over, but it isn’t over. History is full of teams that came back from 3-1 deficits to win best-of-seven series, including last year’s Boston Red Sox, who did it in the ALCS against Cleveland. Because the one question that everyone seems to be asking about this game is why Torre lifted Lowe when he did, and Lowe himself said after the game that he felt fine and that his final inning, the fifth, was his best inning. Well, this was Torre’s postgame response, which didn’t make tomorrow’s paper because of deadline issues:
“First, he was on short rest. I think that was well-documented. He had to work hard every inning, even though he was in the 70s pitch count-wise. The only one-two-three innings he had was the fifth inning. I thought at that point, especially when we took the lead, it just looked like he was fighting his emotions the whole game. He said he felt fine. We were probably going to get only one more inning out of him anyway, pitch count-wise, and I just decided to make the move there.”
Not sure why. We’re meeting with Joe in a few, so I’m sure one of us will ask
This is no longer the cakewalk it was shaping up to be when we left Philly. Casey Blake said after Game 2 that the Dodgers needed to come out fighting. Well, they almost did so literally. That pitch from Kuroda that barely missed the top of Shane Victorino’s helmet in the third inning did a lot of things — among them, it elicited an official warning from the umpires — but it mostly sent a message that the Dodgers aren’t going to roll over. I feel bad for Chad Billingsley. He is a great kid and a great pitcher who has been caught in the middle of something that frankly isn’t his fault, and for some reason, Fox kept showing tight shots of him in the Dodgers’ dugout tonight during a game he wasn’t even involved in other than as a supportive teammate. Yes, he should have retaliated in Game 2 for what happened to Martin and Manny. But no, he didn’t commit some sort of affront to all that is sacred about this grand, old game. This stuff appears to be over now, and this series appears to be shaping up as one for the ages.
When it became clear he wasn’t going to be activated at any point in this postseason, he decided to go ahead with a procedure he knew he was going to eventually need anyway. It will happen on Wednesday, the morning of Game 5. He will have a partial tear of his flexor tendon repaired and a bone spur shaved of the back of the elbow. He is expected to be ready for spring training. He is four-plus arbitration-eligible who avoided a hearing last winter by agreeing at $1.115 million. He had a 6.05 ERA in 38 2/3 innings spanning 41 appearances during the regular season.
Nomar is in at first base, as expected. The other part of the equation is that the bottom of the order was shaken up, with Blake moving to sixth, Kemp dropping to seventh and DeWitt now hitting eighth. Nomar’s career postseason stats are fairly impressive. He is batting .318 (34 for 107) with a .380 on-base percentage, a .598 slugging percentage, seven HRs and 23 RBI.
He’ll get the ball on Monday night on three days’ rest. If there is a Game 7 back in Philly, he would be going on normal rest for that one. Joe Torre said earlier that he personally hasn’t had much success as a manager going with starting pitchers on three days’ rest, but as a sinkerballer who doesn’t rely heavily on velocity, Lowe would seem to be the one type of pitcher who shouldn’t be affected much by it. A side benefit to this, Torre said, is that Chad Billingsley, who is probably itching to get back on the mound after that disaster in Game 2, will get to do so sooner. He’ll go in Game 5 on Wednesday night on regular rest after the off-day Tuesday. … In other news, Nomar will start tomorrow night against Jamie Moyer, whom he hits extremely well, and it SOUNDS like it probably will be at first base, because that position will be easier on Nomar’s body and because it will allow Torre to rest James Loney against the lefty. Also, Takashi Saito will NOT go to the Arizona Instructional League to pitch in a game. He will stay here throughout this series and pitch in a simulated game, at a date yet to be determined, so Rick Honeycytt can watch him closely.
Much like last night, there was a ball that would have gone out of just about any other part of the ballpark, this one a drive by Casey Blake in the seventh that would have gone for a three-run, game-tying homer, but it came down at that distant part of the wall in left-center, and Shane Victorino made a leaping catch. Chad Billingsley was awful in the second after striking out the first two batters and then giving up a bouncing single up the middle to Greg Dobbs. Phils went on to score four in that inning and four in the next one, too, chasing Billingsley after 2 1/3 innings. Yes, the Dodgers are going home for the next three. Yes, Joe Torre’s Yankees blew a 3-0 lead in the 2004 American League Championship Series. But that’s all secondary to the fact this team is down 2-0 and absolutely MUST win Game 3 in the twilight on Saturday at Dodger Stadium. It could be worse. But it couldn’t be much worse.
Still no starter for Game 4. Torre says Lowe is still a possibility, but my money’s on Kershaw. … Charlie Manuel will manage today, but after that, it remains up in the air. June Manuel was 87 and still lived, according to Phillies PR chief Greg Casterioto, in the same house where Charlie and his nine siblings grew up. She had gone into the hospital earlier this week and passed this morning. … The shadows are already almost all the way across the infield, so they shouldn’t be much of a factor come game time, which is still about an hour away. It is an absolutely gorgeous autumn day here, and the game time temp is going to be well into the 70s.