Amazing what a little ten-run outburst combined with an Arizona loss can do for your outlook on life, isn’t it? I’m pretty sure we won’t be seeing as much hand-wringing and worry around the intertubes as was going on yesterday. Despite the exhortations from FireNedCollettiNow to avoid saying the “P” word, I’m going to be the one to say it: the Dodgers are going to make the playoffs. There. It’s done.
That said, Let’s go Mets! Anyone here prefer to play the Cubs over the Phillies in the first round? Yeah, I didn’t think so. Well, we’re going to Chicago if the Brewers manage to pull out the wild card, so here’s to CC Sabathia finally breaking down from overuse tonight. And not after we give him a 7-year, $160 million deal in the offseason. Ugh.
So here’s what I’m most interested in right now: Rafael Furcal. The latest update, from today’s LA Times, seems to be a positive one:
Rafael Furcal said the pain in his surgically repaired lower back has diminished to a point where he is no longer hesitant about venturing onto the field.
“I’m ready for however they want to use me,” Furcal said, adding that the only physical discomfort he’s experiencing these days is some mild tightness in his hamstrings.
I know, I know; counting on Rafael Furcal for anything is a little bit like depending on Jason Schmidt. But I say, it’s time to throw him out there, because what’s the downside? I know this is going to sound pretty inhumane, but what’s the worst that can happen – he gets hurt again? He’s a free agent after the season, so it’s not like the Dodgers are on the hook for paying him if he’s injured. But isn’t it worth the chance to see if an 80% (I’m just guessing on that) Furcal is better than a 100% Angel Berroa, even despite Berroa’s recent improvement? So put Furcal out there. If he shows some semblance of his former self, then great – now you’ve improved a dangerous offense even further by putting him at the top of it and having the 8th spot be occupied by Blake DeWitt rather than Berroa. If it was too soon and he gets hurt again, the only effect is that you’re in the same position you’ve been in for months, which is not having his services. No downside there, to me.
* Also, I’d like to address this right off the bat, because I know everyone hates the Yankees and claims “East Coast bias!” and so on….
Yankees Senior VP Hank Steinbrenner isn’t all that impressed that Joe Torre has the Dodgers on the brink of the playoffs in his first season managing in L.A.
“I’m happy for Joe, but you have to compare the divisions and the competition,” the bombastic Baby Boss says in a guest column in the new Sporting News magazine, which hits newsstands this week.
“What if the Yankees finish the season with more wins than the Dodgers but the Dodgers make the playoffs? Does that make the Dodgers a better team? No.”
Hank is, believe it or not, absolutely right. Don’t forget, not only are the Yankees likely to end up with as many or more wins than the Dodgers, they’re doing it in what might be rightly called the toughest division in history. Don’t get me wrong; I’m not suggesting that the Dodgers politely decline a playoff invitation, and if they should win it all that flag’s not going to fly any lower because of the weak division they came out of. It’s just something that we all need to keep in mind – in any other division, the Dodgers are a third place team.
* Finally, a quick update on yesterday’s story about Hong-Chih Kuo, from the same article as the Furcal quote:
Hong-Chih Kuo played catch and said his ailing left elbow is responding well to treatment, but admitted that he didn’t know if he would be able to pitch in the postseason. Kuo, who has undergone four elbow surgeries, has pitched twice in the last three weeks.
- Mike Scioscia’s tragic illness