Since the team is 8-3 in July May and just swept Arizona, I won’t get overly negative. Still, I couldn’t help but chuckle at Joe Torre’s quote about how John Ely’s done well for the team:
“He’s one of our starters right now,” Torre said after Ely pitched six-plus innings. “[Vicente] Padilla is more than a month away. I don’t see where he’s [Ely] in any danger.” [...]
“His command has been terrific,” said Torre. “He makes it look — I don’t want to say easy — but simple. And that’s the thing that’s been escaping our club — getting deep into the game. He’s got us to the seventh inning each time.” (via Sons of Steve Garvey)
Hey, don’t get me wrong; Ely’s been great. But read that last line of Torre’s quote again. He sure does seem to place a lot of importance on a starter getting to the seventh inning, doesn’t he? I’d completely agree with that stance as well… if Joe Torre were not also the one making sure other starters don’t get into the seventh. For example, what I said after Chad Billingsley’s start on Monday:
I love that Chad Billingsley was able to pull it together and get the win after his rough first inning the last time out. But he was clearly upset when leaving the mound, and I don’t blame him. He’d thrown only 90 innings, and while he certainly wasn’t Kershaw-level dominant, he was also up 4-1 when he left. Yes, he had put two men on base. But when you hear nonstop that Billingsley never works into the 7th inning… well, it’s pretty hard to do that when Torre apparently requires a no-hitter to be active before letting Billingsley get that far.
Which was nicely echoed by Eric Stephen at True Blue LA:
The narrative about Chad is one of the poor second half pitcher last season, not of his two solid years of performance prior to that. That narrative will never change if Billingsley is not given the opportunity to change it. If there was ever a time to let Billingsley work out of a tough spot — three run lead, well rested arm, an extra day of rest pending — this was it. Part of Billingsley pitching into the seventh is his manager giving him a chance.
Torre has stated on several occasions that he has confidence in Billingsley. It would be nice if he backs up those words with actions.
Well played, Joe.
Hey, didn’t someone comment here a while back that they wanted to know when I’d get some ads so they could click on them relentlessly? There’s now one for Sports Interaction on the right sidebar. Click away!