Joe Torre said this morning that, “Right now, we’re going with the hot hands.”
The Dodgers have optioned third baseman Andy LaRoche a day after doing the same to Blake DeWitt. Pinch-hitting specialist Mark Sweeney is back on the active roster. The 38-year-old is hitting .094 with three RBI in 60 games with the Dodgers.
Actually, you can make that .092 after today’s pinch hit strikeout. I guess he wasn’t in an “ideal pinch hit situation.”
Now, yes, I’m quite aware that LaRoche wasn’t exactly lighting the place up, but what do you expect when you get very limited playing time? 59 at-bats spaced out through a month and a half is getting a chance? That stretch of four consecutive starts last week was the most amount of consistent playing time LaRoche has had all season. By the way, that’s also the fallacy that I’ve noticed amongst some journalists regarding the Blake trade and I forgot to mention this, last night. In some places I’ve been readin, the gist is basically that we acquired Blake because “the younger players” (i.e. DeWitt and LaRoche) failed to capitalized in their opportunities to seize the job. Well, they’re half right. DeWitt, after coming out gangbusters the first couple of months, eventually did fail to keep the job, but after having an opportunity to the tune of 280 at-bats. Somehow 59 spaced out at-bats is “failing to seize an opportunity?” While I can understand sending him to Las Vegas to get more at-bats, he has nothing left to prove over there. He’s already conquered Triple A, so to speak, and he could still be valuable off the bench. With him gone, here is our bench’s OPS+:
Angel Berroa: 40
Pablo Ozuna: 70
Danny Ardoin: 36
Andruw Jones (if he’s finally fallen to the 4th outfield spot): 36
Mark Sweeney: -18
Again, LaRoche isn’t tearing it up, either, with his 68 OPS+, but…
68 > -18
I mean, on what planet does a player sporting a -18 OPS+ deserve to come back up in place of LaRoche? I suppose the Planet Torreletti, that’s where.
Planet Torreletti: a world where Mark Sweeney is valuable.
The downside to all of this, though, is Nomar’s injury. During today’s game, Nomar left the game after irritating his knee from a play and will be evaluated tomorrow. Hopefully this doesn’t spur on a LaRoche for Jack Wilson trade…
But moving on to more positive news, it’s hard to believe, but admist the Ethier benching on Friday, the Blake trade yesterday and the news today, uh, we actually swept a team. Also, for the first time since May 30th, the Dodgers have returned to .500! Mediocrity has never tasted so sweet.
Even better, our pitching has returned, thanks to two great pitching performances from Thunder Thighs, and Derek Lowe, and continued today with a great performance by Clayton Kershaw. Kershaw went 6 IP, 0 ER, 4 H, 1 BB, 5 K and not only did he have his curveball going, but he was also throwing a pretty nifty changeup. And, FINALLY, he picks up his first MLB win and only his second total, this year. Granted, all of this came against the Nationals, a team who has an even worse offense than us, if you can believe it, but a win is a win. And how about Matt Kemp and his 14 game hit streak? He’s looking better by the day. Now it’s off to play San Francisco for three and then, of course, the big four game series against Arizona, beginning on Thursday. How about we start NOT being below .500 anymore? Works for me.