You almost have to feel bad for both Greg Maddux and Aaron Cook, who were both just unbelievable today. What else could you ask of Maddux? He breezed through seven innings on just 68 pitches, a number which we’ve all seen other pitchers accumulate in just two innings, and allowed just two base runners. Of course, Cook was just as good, going eight scoreless innings. All this in Coors Field, which makes me wonder what would have happened if these two had matched up in Petco today. Would 14-inning dueling perfect games be out of the question?
I’m not all that worried about the loss, because it’s still a series win, and that’s all you can ever expect. What does worry me a little is Hong-Chih Kuo. We all know his gruesome history of arm injuries, and even now he just had to take an entire week off (plus a cortisone shot in his elbow), and after his first batter Joe Torre rushes to the mound to inquire about his health (seen at right). Kuo waves him off, but then proceeds to give up 4 hits and blows the game. It can’t be overstated how much he’s meant to the pen this season… so let’s hope this is just rust, and not anything more serious.
On to Pittsburgh, hopefully aided by the return of Andre Ethier.
* Casey Blake left today’s game with, according to Diamond Leung, “minor back stiffness.” I’m not sure if this is something that’s just popped up, but with how poorly he’s performed lately it wouldn’t surprise me if this has been bothering him for some time. Looking at his stats coming into today, Blake’s been very all-or-nothing. Over the last month, his power numbers have been fine (5 homers and a .432 SLG), but he’s only hitting .227 and getting on base at a .313 clip. It’s been worse even more recently, as he’s only been able to get 3 hits in the entire last week. He has hit 9 homers since joining the Dodgers, which is nice, but his OPS+ is now at 101 in LA - making him just about league-average. Of course, since Blake DeWitt had fallen off a cliff and Andy LaRoche never really got going, league-average was an upgrade.
* Speaking of third base… as a general rule, I’ve tried to refrain from worrying about 2009 while the Dodgers are still very much alive in 2008. This is why I haven’t really touched on the “Will Manny stay?” questions or “Will Sabathia come to LA?” rumors that are out and about. But this is a new one: via MLBtraderumors, we have Bill Shaikin wondering whether the Dodgers might be interested in re-acquiring Adrian Beltre from Seattle in the offseason. We’ll get into this and other rumors in a much more indepth fashion after the season ends, but for now I’ll say this: I wouldn’t mind seeing Beltre return, but I doubt that it’ll happen. For all the heat Beltre has recieved for being unable to match his monster 2004 season since going to Seattle, he’s still been a very effective third baseman. Still one of the best defenders in the game, he’s now completing his third straight year of 25+ homers with an above average OPS+, and that’s with an injured wrist that just required surgery. Would I be willing to pay the $12 million for 2009 remaining on his contract to see if a return to the LA area would be bring back his 2004 form? Probably – but when Beltre’s name popped up in rumors (mostly to Minnesota) this July, all the whispers said that Seattle was looking for frontline young prospects in return, partially to mend the wounds they caused themselves in the brutal Erik Bedard deal. That’s not a price I’m willing to pay for one year of Beltre. So I don’t expect to see it.
- Mike Scioscia’s tragic illness