Dodge This: L.A. Comes to Play
By Justin Klugh
"“Do you really only have one LH in the bullpen right now?” –Phil Gurnee, True Blue L.A."
Well, I mean… yeah… and it is J.C. Romero, a guy with 22 walks and 17 strikeouts, who seems to load the bases with religious consistency and then leaves the game, like a house guest who shows up announced, breaks your guitar with his “sweet new jam” and spends the night pooping on your couch in his sleep. Then he leaves immediately the next morning with most of your cereal in his bag.
But we forgive J.C., because little known fact, he’s a switch hitter! And, as any seasoned baseball person will tell you, that is a very valuable trait for a late game relief pitcher.
There are plenty of laments on our side that could fill this text box. The aforementioned Romero being one of them, as the sole left handed voice, and a quiet one at that. He is surrounded by questionable phone calls in Contreras, Lidge, and Baez, putting a hell of a lot of pressure on Madson to stop giving the stink eye to that metal folding chair in the corner.
Then there’s the–shhhh–injuries. Nobody’s where they’re supposed to be; Werth’s in center, Howard, Victorino, and Utley are on the DL, Greg Dobbs isn’t in a cage being slowly lowered into a shark tank. But geeze, we’re in the throes of a 14-3 stretch, so what the hell? Apparently nobody cares.
Well, I’m not going to lie (I know, I’m surprised, too). It’s extremely pleasurable to watch our NLCS rivals of the last two years get sat on by the grade school bullies of the NL West as they spit in the mouths of Los Angeles. Except for the Diamondbacks, of course, who have been lying dead a few yards away for weeks now.
Phil Gurnee’s series preview is up on True Blue L.A., and he highlights the fact that Chooch is a renown Dodger-killer, usually not losing his offensive virginity until the post season. He is one factor that, popping up early, has come through will some of the bigger bats are dead in the water for the time being.
But the Dodgers themselves are in a state of loss, with seven heavy games holding them down out of first place in the West. The offense isn’t crackling, even with Scott Podsednik aboard. Some bullpenners are on the DL. The Mannywood sign came down. IT IS A ROUGH TIME OKAY.
They’re going to throw Vicente Padilla at us tonight, who just finished mopping the Padres off his field in L.A. during his last start. The 1,000-year old lizard with the speed of a sinking sail boat has been aces for them of late, and starting against Kyle Kendrick (As successful as he’s been in the last three starts) is a great way to boost one’s confidence.
But the Dodgers aren’t interested in prolonging their suffering, as they kicked Garret Anderson and his second-lowest-in-the-majors-batting-average-of-.181 to the curb this past Sunday.
“Everything has its time and place,” whispered Dodgers GM Ned Colletti, calmly loading a shotgun shell by shell behind his desk. Then he whispered something about “… a time of repentance,” and strode wordlessly out of the room during the middle of an interview.
A beaten Dodgers squad vs. a wounded Phillies squad seems very likely to be a series of goofs backed by some quality starting pitching, though only one of our three aces will face them during the series–Yeah, they get the KK/Big Joe stretch, with a dusting of RoyO in between.
After Padilla, RoyO squares off against off against Chad Billingsley, a guy who has had success historically in CBP, and finally, the cartoon horse-faced Clayton Kershaw for the finale.
With the Astros beating the Braves for some reason, the Phils are now a tiny little game out of first place in the NL East, a spot that only a month ago seemed as distant as Vicente Padilla’s stare.
Just… keep… crawling…