So you might think the big news coming out of last night’s 4-2 win over the Giants was that Manny Ramirez, the hottest Dodger hitter in June (1.028 OPS), strained his right hamstring in the first inning, requiring him to leave the game and putting his status in doubt.
Or perhaps it was another fine start by John Ely, who has rebounded from a tough start to June to be effective once again - exactly as I said he would. Ely’s made 12 starts this year; he’s completed five innings in 11 of them, and allowed two earned runs or fewer in 8 of them. He’s basically been a gift from the heavens.
But neither of those things qualify as the “big news” from last night. No, that would be that that George Sherrill, just hours after I pointed out that he hadn’t struck a single man out in six weeks, struck out the first (and only) batter he faced last night, Aubrey Huff in the 8th inning.
I’ll try to continue to use my power for good, and not evil. Maybe.
I can’t really let this Matt Kemp situation pass without commenting. Wasn’t the entire point of Joe Torre the fact that while he may be a terrible in-game strategist, he was supposed to be outstanding at avoiding clubhouse issues? Benching Kemp for one game was the right thing to do for a struggling hitter. The second game seemed odd, but more rest couldn’t hurt. But the third game in a row, well, that really set off the alarm bells.
Jon Weisman ran down the chronology of what happened here, and it’s #5 – emphasis Jon’s, because clearly I’m not the only one horrified by it – that really blows my mind.
1) Torre and Kemp talked.
2) Torre told Kemp he would start Wednesday.
3) Torre said Kemp is struggling and has been frustrated.
4) Kemp came to see Torre; Torre did not approach Kemp.
5) Torre said he didn’t know if Kemp would be starting Wednesday if Kemp hadn’t come to him.
6) Torre said if the coaching staff has something to say a player, they tell him. (I guess Torre had nothing left to tell Kemp without Kemp coming to Torre?)
The idea that Torre just tossed Kemp into the “time-out corner”, waiting for Kemp to come to him with his tail between the legs, is exactly the kind of manager I don’t want. You’ve got to either be able to manage the clubhouse, or do a good job on the field – preferably both. Right now, Torre’s not doing a great job at either one. But hey, at least he didn’t also use Ronald Belisario for the fourth time in five games as well. Oh, wait…
Prepare yourself for what may be a hilarious outfield in this afternoon’s series finale: Manny is certainly out thanks to his hamstring pull, and Andre Ethier was scheduled to get the day off as well. No word yet on whether Manny’s absence will change Ethier’s day off, but you could be looking at a lineup that features both Garret Anderson and Reed Johnson.