I can’t remember the last time I saw a debut as completely lousy in every way as that – and if you didn’t catch the game, it’s actually worse than the box score makes it appear. “He went 0-5 with 4 strikeouts,” you say. “How could it be worse than that?” Well, that’d be because he really struck out all five times, and was saved on the last one only because a balk was called on Astros closer Jose Valverde as Repko was whiffing again. Given another chance, he “redeemed” himself by flying out to right field. Say what you will about Juan Pierre, but in just one night Repko managed to come nearly a quarter of the way to Pierre’s season total of 17 strikeouts. Take a good look at the image to the right – Repko walking slowly back to the dugout, bat in hand. After last night, it really should be immortalized in statue form and placed outside Repko’s home. Repko’s likely to get another shot tonight, as Matt Kemp has an eye infection and probably won’t start, so hey, Jason – try to get the bat on the ball at least once or twice, okay? And Joe Torre… I know Repko can run, but there’s no need to be batting him leadoff again. Put Martin there, put LaRoche there, I don’t care. But not a guy who embarrassed himself as thoroughly as Repko did last night.
The most frustrating thing is that the Dodgers actually did put up eleven hits last night, which is pretty good, but as usual they couldn’t string a few together to get some of those guys in. Even the one run they did put up was mostly thanks to Houston starter Roy Oswalt plunking both Russell Martin and Jeff Kent, followed by a James Loney sacrifice fly. The Blue left an astounding 21 men on base last night, with Repko, Ethier, and Delwyn Young all leaving 4 on. As usual, it all comes back to the lack of power. With runners in scoring position, LA is 8th in the NL in batting average, and 6th in on-base percentage, which isn’t that bad out of 16 teams. But they are 15th in slugging in those situations, with a brutal .358, only ahead of the woeful Nationals. That’s also good for 28th in MLB, beating only Toronto and Washington.
Sure, help might be on the way. In what was probably the most entertaining game in Las Vegas history, Andruw Jones went deep and Rafael Furcal doubled. Yeah, Nomar was there as well, going 0-2 while playing third base. But Nomar was only going to be useful if he beat Furcal back and took shortstop away from Angel “Playing even worse than MSTI predicted he would” Berroa. Now? Maybe he’ll just take Mark Sweeney’s spot on the roster at best, but even that’s a pretty big victory.
Also, be sure to check out the latest installment of Cardboard Gods, in which the author takes a random baseball card (usually from the 1970s or 80s) and relates the player, team, or picture contained within to the events of his life at the time. The latest version attempts to rank the all-time Dodgers at each position. If you guessed who the starting corner outfielders on that team were going to be before you read it, well, you’re just lying to yourself.