In a game mostly notable for the returns of Manny Ramirez (to the team) and Jonathan Broxton (to the 9th inning), it was the return of a long dormant offense which was the biggest surprise of all. Home runs by Ryan Theriot (!), Andre Ethier, Jay Gibbons, and Matt Kemp powered Chad Billingsley to his 10th victory, despite the late efforts of Billingsley and Travis Schlichting to give it back. It should be noted that Gibbons now has as many homers (two) in 19 at-bats as his predecessor, Garret Anderson, had in 155.
As for the two big stories of the night, Manny – activated today, with Juan Castro DFA’d, just as I’d hoped – went 0-3 with two strikeouts. That’s disappointing, but not all that unexpected; he’s barely played in two months, after all. That’s a big part of the reason that I wanted him activated as soon as possible, because if he’s going to build up any trade value, he’ll need as many games as he can to get his timing down.
Broxton was slightly wild in the 9th, going to a 3-2 count on the first batter, but still set down the Reds in order to get his first save since August 3. I’m not sure if this means he’s “back” – his velocity was still down, by the way – but it had to be a huge boost to his confidence. Since Hong-Chih Kuo pitched 1.2 innings today and Octavio Dotel hasn’t gained any trust, I’d imagine Broxton would be the man should the Dodgers have a lead in the 9th tomorrow, as well.
Of course, the real big news is that there’s an announcement coming tomorrow on Vin Scully’s future, says T.J. Simers:
“I know what I am going to do and I would imagine the Dodgers will arrange things so an announcement can be made before [Sunday's] game,” said Scully, who will be 83 before the start of next season. “I’d like to do that so everyone hears it at the same time. It’s the proper way to do it.”
My guess, just from comments he’s made over the last few months, is that he won’t retire yet, but he’ll cut back further on his schedule. I’d imagine that means that he’ll do only home games and no longer make the NL West trips, with the possible exception of the short journeys to Anaheim and San Diego.
Of course, it’s very possible that’s just my own selfishness speaking, praying that he’ll stick with us on even a reduced schedule, rather than heading off into the retirement he obviously so richly deserves.