Think Blue

Obsessing over the Dodgers' minor league system so you don't have to.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Some thoughts on tonight's game

I usually try not to complain much about managing, since it is such a difficult and nuanced profession. But 3 things really stood out to me about tonight's game.

1. Hawpe's second at bat

After looking so bad against Kershaw's sliders, the first pitch fastball to Hawpe in the 4th was brilliant, as Brad weakly flicked his wrists at it. After that, in my opinion, he should have then thrown nothing but sliders/curveballs. But after missing low with a breaking ball, Torre calls for another fastball which Hawpe hits 400+ feet. Now, Clayton missed badly on location, but when a batter looks utterly helpless against a certain pitch, you don't stop throwing it.

2. McDonald instead of Sherrill

In the bottom of the tenth, the following batters were due up for the Rockies - Ian Stewart, Carlos Gonzalez, Omar Quintanilla and, if anyone got on, Todd Helton. What do they have in common? Why, they're left-handed. So it would make sense to bring in your left-handed reliever to face them, no? Apparently not, according to Torre. He brings in James McDonald, who has posted decent numbers against southpaws, but doesn't have the type of late-inning experience that Sherrill brings to the table.

3. Not having Broxton up

After McDonald walked the leadoff batter, I would have immediately gotten both Sherrill AND Broxton up, in order to face Helton and/or Tulowitzki. Helton has only seen Sherrill once and made out. Broxton completely dominates Tulowitzki, as the shortstop is 0 for 11 with 8 strikeouts versus The Bull. But after Loney's error on Gonzalez' sac bunt and Quintanilla strikes out, Torre opts to walk Helton to load the bases and force McDonald to face Tulowitzki.

I can understand resistance to criticizing Torre over Clayton grooving a fastball, as Torre isn't doing the pitching. But when you have two very good relievers in your pen and choose not to use them in a crucial point in the game, you're not giving the team its best chance to win.


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