Kuroda & Kuo Add Up To Zero

Proof positive, I suppose, that you can shut down the Mets with your eyes closed.

You could argue that Hiroki Kuroda did his best to outshine Chad Billingsley‘s effort from Wednesday night. You could also argue that the Mets just came off of being embarrassed in Arizona, so they were hardly a worthy opponent. Kuroda, powered by a homer and a double from Matt Kemp, pitched at least eight shutout innings for the fourth time in his career, helping the Dodgers overcome another generally ineffective night from the offense.

I would have liked to have seen Kuroda start the 9th; while he was up to 112 pitches, he’d been breezing through and had spent just 11 pitches in the 8th. But shouldn’t pitch counts not be a concern anyway for Kuroda? He’s not a young arm coming up to be protected, like Chad Billingsley or Clayton Kershaw; he’s a veteran used to high pitch counts, and he even survived the insane decision to let him come back in after that nearly three-hour rain delay in Cincinnati. Besides, his contract is up and it’s not like there’s any guarantee he’s coming back, so you push him as hard as you need to right now. Even hitting for him in the 8th didn’t add any value; Kuroda could have grounded weakly up the middle and then not run hard to first base just as well as Garret Anderson did.

In addition, the Mets started the 9th with two righties before lefty Ike Davis, and with Jonathan Broxton unavailable, Hong-Chih Kuo was the closer tonight. Obviously, Kuo has no problems with either side of the plate, but it does stand to reason that Kuroda could have faced the righties unless he got in trouble. It’s also absolutely terrifying that Kuo has been allowed to either pitch or warm three consecutive nights, and I’m not lying when I say I’m terrified for him each time he’s out there now. Remember when he wasn’t allowed to do that for even two nights in a row? Now he’s up to three, and I don’t think I’m alone when I say, there’s just no way that can end well. Now, let the legions of “Kuo should replace Broxton!” crazies come out.

It was the second time this season the Dodgers tossed back-to-back shutouts, following the dual 1-0 extra inning wins against Arizona to start June. Had Kuroda been able to complete the shutout, it would have been the first back-to-back complete game shutouts for the Dodgers since Pedro Astacio and Tom Candiotti in 1995, each of which came against the Mets.

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Dylan Hernandez lets us know that James McDonald is being sent to the bullpen after just one start, with Carlos Monasterios getting the nod on Saturday, which is a good idea because… hell, I have absolutely no idea. I said the other day that I prefer McDonald in the bullpen anyway, but McDonald wasn’t exactly terrible in his one start, and his five strikeouts were two more than Monasterios has been able to get in any appearance, start or relief, the entire season. Even if you don’t want McDonald, John Ely allowed three runs in seven innings in his first start for ABQ, and starting him on Saturday would have only put him at one extra day of rest off his usual schedule. The idea that Monasterios is a better choice to start than either McDonald or Ely… well, I just can’t get behind it.

At the very least, it’s the last time we’ll have to see him start, since we all know that by this time next week, the Dodgers will have traded Dee Gordon, Jerry Sands, & Kenley Jansen for Paul Maholm & Octavio Dotel.

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I didn’t mention the other day that Jack Taschner had been recalled from ABQ, but if I had, I would have laughed at it. Taschner was so bad that he was DFA’d by the Pirates, of all teams, in June. The fun part is, not only was he not good this year, he’s never been any good (career 4.47 FIP and 4.82 BB/9), his velocity has dropped four years in a row (down to 88.8 MPH this year), and he wasn’t even any good in AAA after signing with the Dodgers (four home runs allowed in ten innings.) Yet he’s somehow a better choice than Kenley Jansen, or if you must have a lefty, Juan Perez (9.3 K/9, 3.19 ERA for the Isotopes)?

Anyway, his simple recall isn’t what set me off here, it’s this bit of news, also from  Hernandez:

Tashner taking over as lefty specialist

That’s without throwing a pitch for the club, by the way. But not only is a guy who cut dumped by Pittsburgh being given an important role, what’s even funnier is that he’s completely unqualified for it. Despite being a lefty, Taschner has no discernible platoon split. For his career, he’s been hit by righties at a .796 clip, and lefties at .778. That comes out to a .292/.361/.416 line, and that’s just not all that good.

Now you might say, “but MSTI, George Sherrill has been a train wreck, and Hong-Chih Kuo isn’t really a lefty specialist. The team’s hand has been forced.” To which I say, has it?

Sherrill’s line against righty hitters is almost unfathomably bad – .453/.531/.774. There’s just nothing that’s going to make that okay. However, for all his troubles, he’s still been pretty effective against lefties, holding them to .200/.327/.350. I’m not suggesting I feel all that comfortable with him in a big spot, but even in his disastrous season, that’s still quite better than Taschner’s done. As I said weeks ago, if he’s allowed to only face lefties, he just may be able to help you.

Besides, as Steve Dilbeck notes, Sherrill has been demoted to garbage time. That means that he’s likely to have to face more righties than otherwise, since you’re not playing matchups as much with big leads or deficits. And that’s going to help him get turned around how, exactly?

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Finally: I haven’t been touching on every single trade rumor, because 99% of them are stupid or painful, and because you can connect the dots to just about every player in the bigs anyway. (Besides, I like to do that in the offseason, when there’s not games to distract me every night.) Still, this note from AOL Fanhouse’s Ed Price really caught my eye:

#Rays said to be shopping BJ Upton. With Manny out, #Dodgers could use a bat, and Tampa has some interest in RHP James McDonald.

Let’s be clear and say that there’s no way this is going to happen; the Rays need a bat too, and if they trade Upton it’s going to be for someone who can help them right now like Jayson Werth. The Dodgers don’t have anyone like that (no, Manny doesn’t count), and since the Rays can’t seem to make room for Jeremy Hellickson, it’s unlikely that McDonald is going to be a huge draw. Still, just the thought of Upton patrolling center between Ethier and Kemp next year…

If There Was Ever a Case Where a Line Score Didn’t Tell The Story…

I watched the first five innings or so of last night’s game, and wasn’t able to catch the rest live. (I’ve since seen what happened, of course). Since I left the game with Clayton Kershaw pitching a one-hitter, and woke up to see that the Dodgers ended up losing 7-5, my morning predictably started with quite a few expletives.

When I looked at the box score on my phone and saw that Jonathan Broxton picked up the loss after walking two and allowing three runs in 1/3 of an inning, it got even worse. Had he really blown a second game in a row? Was I going to have to deal with all of this again?

Well, not quite. Because it turns out that one of those walks was intentional, the one hit he allowed was an infield single and not a single one of the runs scored while he was on the mound. Not that he’s blameless – but that the line score is horribly misleading. Let this be yet another reminder to you about the dangers of ERA, especially for relievers, friends.

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Alright, lets get to it, in classic “I’m short on time, so let’s bullet point out the burning, burning stupid” form:

1) Don Mattingly. Growing up in NJ as a Yankee observer, if not really a fan, Mattingly was always one of my favorite players. Seeing him in a Dodger uniform has always been a particular thrill, but – even before last night – we’ve always been a bit uncomfortable with the idea that he’s the immediate successor to Joe Torre. Part of that is because I just don’t like Torre as a manager very much and the idea that Mattingly is learning at his side is a little scary, but part of that is because Mattingly has zero managerial experience.

Why Mattingly and not, for example, ABQ manager Tim Wallach, as many have suggested? It’s not that Mattingly will be a terrible manager, it’s that we just don’t know due to his total lack of experience, and last night’s debacle directly led to the loss. (I mean, say what you will about Broxton, but going from him to a cold George Sherrill in a high-pressure situation is pretty much the largest step down you can make in baseball.)

I mean, look at the quotes from Mattingly admitting things he wasn’t aware of:

I turned to walk away, and James said something and I just kind of turned around. He asked me the depth that I wanted him, didn’t even realize that I was off the dirt, and obviously I was.

I’m not quite sure of (why they cut Sherrill off at eight warmup tosses). Again, Honey and I talked, and pretty much turned around and George is ready to go, so I figure he’s ready to go. At that point I didn’t realize they cut him off at eight.

This is not engendering confidence for the future.

2) The umpires, part one. The umpires made the correct call on Mattingly’s second trip; that’s his fault, not theirs. But Rob Neyer comes up with a great piece that suggests that Broxton should have been allowed to remain in the game. It’s far too long to quote the entire thing, so here’s the link, but here’s the highlight:

In a case where a manager has made his first trip to the mound and then returns the second time to the mound in the same inning with the same pitcher in the game and the same batter at bat, after being warned by the umpire that he cannot return to the mound, the manager shall be removed from the game and the pitcher required to pitch to the batter until he is retired or gets on base. After the batter is retired, or becomes a base runner, then this pitcher must be removed from the game. The manager should be notified that his pitcher will be removed from the game after he pitches to one hitter, so he can have a substitute pitcher warmed up.

Since Mattingly’s “two” trips happened with the same pitcher and the same batter, the rule states that Mattingly should have actually been removed (which, with Torre & Schaefer already gone, probably would have made Vin Scully the manager) and Broxton allowed (or required) to face the next batter. But Broxton was instead asked to leave, immensely hurting the Dodgers’ chances. (This doesn’t look good for Mattingly again, not pointing out this rule.)

3) The umpires, part two. But wait! There’s more. In the Mattingly quotes above, he said that he wasn’t paying attention to how many warmup pitches George Sherrill was making. Steve Dilbeck explains why that’s important:

Instead, Sherrill was quickly summoned from the bullpen. Mattingly said he asked crew chief Tim McClelland if, as in replacing an injured pitcher, his reliever would get as much time as needed to get loose.

“I asked McCelland, ‘Can he warm up?’ And he said, ‘Yeah, I won’t do that to him. I won’t take a chance on a guy getting hurt,’ ” Mattingly said. At that point, Mattingly said, he was talking to pitching coach Rick Honeycutt “and not really realizing how many throws” Sherrill was getting.

Sherrill also thought he would be allowed as many warm-ups as he needed. Until he learned otherwise from home-plate umpire Adrian Johnson.

“After seven he said, ‘One more,’ and stood behind the plate and called for Torres,” Sherrill said. “And that was that.”

I don’t want to pretend that Sherrill would have been any more effective had he gotten his full compliment of pitches, because, come on: it’s George Sherrill. Again, the umpires screwed the Dodgers, but again, management should have been paying closer attention. Just a mess all around.

4) The umpires, part three. I said this as soon as it happened on Twitter; I cannot stand the way the umpires manage the game when things start to get a little testy. In the 5th inning, Tim Lincecum was very clearly throwing at Matt Kemp; after brushing him back, the next pitch hit him in the back. Home plate umpire Adrian Johnson warned both benches, as though the Dodgers had done anything to deserve it.

The next inning, it continued as Denny Bautista brushed back Russell Martin twice, earning bench coach Bob Schaefer an ejection as he was yelling for Bautista to be ejected. Remember, at this point the Giants have thrown at Dodger hitters four times, yet it’s LA who received a warning and an ejection.

This immediately came back to bite the Dodgers when Clayton Kershaw stupidly plunked Aaron Rowand to lead off the 7th – meaning that  Torre was automatically ejected, because the bench was already under a warning which was unfairly dished out.

5) “Pride”. You may have been confused to see Kershaw bat to lead off the bottom of the 6th, as he was over 100 pitches and had badly struggled in the 6th, allowing three runs on three hits. You may have been more confused if you’d noticed, as Jon points out, that Garret Anderson had been initially on deck to bat for Kershaw, but was pulled back after Schaefer was tossed. And then you’d probably have been throwing things at the TV when Kershaw hit Rowand with the first pitch of the 7th, which was clearly done to send a message.

So all in the name of “pride”, the Dodgers 1) put on the tying run to lead off an inning, 2), gave a guy with a .284 OBP a free base, 3) got their manager ejected, and 4) threw away an out by allowing Kershaw to bat when circumstances dictated he be hit for.

This is the kind of crap you end up with when you read one too many Bill Plaschke stories about how guys like Chad Billingsley “have no heart” because they’re not busy throwing at guys in a playoff game. You don’t think the outcome may have been different if this stupidity didn’t lead directly to the four effects I just outlined? I don’t care how many points this won Kershaw in the clubhouse; you’re on a five game losing streak, and you need to not only win a game but win against a club that’s ahead of you, not deal in this ridiculousness.

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I’m already seeing people say that the Dodgers should be sellers at the deadline. There’s enough there to make an entire post of its own about that, but there’s three very large reasons it’s not going to happen: 1) They’re 3.5 games out of the wild card, which is basically a good weekend away from the playoffs. 2) If you do become a seller, you generally don’t want to destroy the 2011 team, so none of the young core would go, or useful vets like Rafael Furcal. Which means you don’t have a lot to sell. Who’s going to want Casey Blake? Or injured Manny? Or just about anyone in the bullpen, Hong-Chih Kuo aside, and taking him away from the Dodgers medical staff would be a risk no one should take. You’re looking at maybe Vicente Padilla and Hiroki Kuroda, and neither are exactly game-changers. And 3), the last thing Frank McCourt wants to do is drive down the value of the franchise and have it look like his personal issues have affected the product on the field.

Besides, just two years ago, in Torre’s first season, the Dodgers had an eight game losing streak that dropped them to five games below .500 at the end of August. They still made it to the NLCS. It’s ugly, but all is not lost yet.

It’s Friday…

…so why is everyone at work in such a foul mood? Anyway, the less said about last night’s game the better (I’m only half kidding when I say that watching it was less entertaining than watching the cat chase bugs around), so  let’s touch on a few widely varied topics.

Let’s start off with the rotation, where James McDonald appears likely to get the Monday start in John Ely‘s place, and while that’s not confirmed, McDonald was scratched from his start today. McDonald missed over a month with a hamstring pull, and his three starts since his return have been mixed. Four shutout innings on July 1 was a nice start, but then he allowed four earned runs in 6.2 IP at Iowa on July 6. Then on the 11th, he allowed just one run over 6.1 at Omaha, but did so while walking four and striking out just two, so it’s hard to say what to expect. I’m not convinced that he’s any better than Ely is right now, but I’m glad to see him get a chance – and fortunately for him he gets to face the Giants.

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How many people were confused when George Sherrill got into last night’s game? I asked that on Twitter, and the answer was: a lot, since they thought he had been immediately removed from the roster. Think of this like the month of August, where trades are still allowed but only once players have made it through waivers. You never hear about it, but tons of players - even ones teams don’t really plan on trading – are placed on waivers, just to see who makes it through and is available to be used in deals. It’s kind of the same thing for Sherrill, who finds out if he clears waivers today and is on the roster until then. The only difference here is that if Sherrill is claimed, he can’t be pulled back by the Dodgers, unlike the usual August waivers I mentioned.

In a related topic, I suppose this is why waiver deals are supposed to be kept so secret. Imagine if Sherrill had come out and struck out the side last night? (I know, you’d probably need some sort of medicinal help to imagine that.) How would that have made things look then?

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BP’s Jay Jaffe says that the Dodgers have regressed more on defense from 2009 to 2010 than any other team in baseball:

Having accentuated the positive, we’ll move on to lambasting the negative, since eliminating it doesn’t seem to be an option, or even very much fun. And No. 1 on the list of teams that deserve it are the Dodgers, who went from leading the league in DE last year by a whole seven points to ranking 10th this year. Not surprisingly, one key culprit appears to be the loss of Orlando Hudson (+17), though Blake DeWitt and friends have been a respectable two runs above average at the keystone. At third base, Casey Blake has declined (+13 to -5), and Rafael Furcal has dropped off (+13 to +4), surprising given how much more Furcal-like he’s been when available. In the outfield, Matt Kemp has lost 10 runs himself (+8 to -2), a particularly rough blow when coupled with his 20-point drop in True Average. Luckily for the Dodgers, they’re second in the league in strikeout rate, minimizing the number of balls in play.

It’s really hard to argue with any of that.

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Ramon Troncoso‘s pitched in four games for the Isotopes, and he’s allowed two homers – though he has struck out five and walked just two. Only one of the two homers was at home, so it’s not all the ABQ effect, though last night’s was a walkoff. Not good.

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ESPN’s Buster Olney speculates on who may want to buy the Dodgers should the McCourts be forced to sell:

There is speculation within the sport that if the McCourts are forced to sell the Dodgers as they go through their divorce proceedings, the person who is most perfectly positioned to buy the team is Dennis Gilbert, the longtime agent and team executive. Gilbert lives in the L.A. area, is a known quantity to commissioner Bud Selig, and Gilbert essentially finished second in the bidding for the Texas Rangers last year — largely because Nolan Ryan chose to align himself with Chuck Greenberg. Gilbert knows a whole lot of people, big hitters in the money world, and if the Dodgers’ franchise needs rescuing — and in the sport right now, the team’s ownership troubles are regarded as a cover-your-eyes embarrassment — Gilbert will have the financial wherewithal to restore the club to its past greatness.

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Garret Anderson update: his 0-1 last night kept him steady at #10 on the list of “worst seasons in Dodger history“, though with only six more hitless at-bats, he’ll likely be up to #7.

Also, while I have a lot of respect for Tony Jackson, this part of his chat yesterday killed me:

Sam (Fullerton)
How much longer will the Dodgers leave the corpse of Garret Anderson out on the field before they waive him?

Tony Jackson 
That’s a good question, Sam, but I get the sense they’re not going to wait much longer, unless Garret suddenly gets hot. I do think Torre and the coaching staff likes having him around for what he brings to the clubhouse. He lockers next to Matt Kemp at home, and I think they think he has been a good influence. So it may come down to how long the front office is willing to go along with the wishes of the staff.

Maybe I’ve been off on a distant planet or something, but haven’t we heard plenty of whispers that people aren’t always thrilled with Kemp’s attitude, culminating in the benching that seemed to be a direct result of a spat he had with bench coach Bob Schaefer? So… wouldn’t that then mean that Anderson’s actually doing a terrible job at mentoring, too? Guess we can just add that to the list of things he can’t do anymore.

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As long as we’re getting on Anderson, I should be an equal opportunity naysayer and expand on the D I gave Ronnie Belliard in the first-half grades. He’s got one hit in his last twenty-eight at-bats, and he’s hitting just .220 on the season. Clearly, he’s not much of a contributor in the field, either.

I don’t think cutting him is as clear-cut as it is for Anderson, simply because there’s not an Xavier Paul behind him ready to step in. Chin-lung Hu isn’t any sort of a bat, and Ivan DeJesus needs to play every day after losing last year to injury. In addition, Belliard is really the only backup 1B on the team, unless you count Casey Blake.

So his spot is secure for now, but I’d really like to see if the Dodgers can cheaply go after Russell Branyan, as I suggested earlier this week. Think about it: dump Anderson, dump Belliard, keep Paul, acquire Branyan. You’d then have your non-catching bench split between two righties and two lefties, you’d be covered in the outfield with Paul and Johnson, Jamey Carroll could cover backing up 2B/SS/3B, and Branyan would be a true lefty power bat who could actually play some 1B. Even if you think that stretches the non-1B backup infield to have only Carroll, remember that it’s only six weeks until rosters expand, ABQ isn’t that far away should injury happen, and if worst comes to absolute worst, you could still stick Russell Martin at 3B for the late innings of a game where injuries mount until reinforcements arrive.

The Shockingly Sudden Fall of George Sherrill


Slightly less than a year ago, George Sherrill was so highly thought of that the Dodgers surrendered two minor leaguers, including highly regarded Josh Bell, to the Orioles for his services. He came to LA and was excellent, posting a 0.65 ERA to close out the season.

Yet today, he’s not even worthy of a roster spot in a bullpen which already has seen Ronald Belisario and Ramon Troncoso disappear:

The Dodgers put George Sherrill on outright waivers, according to Ed Price of AOL FanHouse (via Twitter). Price suggests Sherrill, who makes $4.5MM this season, will clear waivers. That would enable the Dodgers to option the reliever to the minor leagues. The 33-year-old lefty has a 7.32 ERA and nearly as many walks (16 BB) as innings (19.2 IP) so far in 2010.

Outright waivers are not revocable, so the Dodgers won’t be able to pull Sherrill back if a rival team claims him. A claim seems unlikely, given his salary and performance so far in 2010. If Sherrill clears waivers, the Dodgers will have an open 40-man roster spot.

It’s amazing, really. This is going to lead to a whole new wave of “Ned Colletti stupidly gave up prospects for a failed veteran” remarks, but even the most negative prognosticator couldn’t have foreseen just what would happen to Sherrill. His numbers are almost so bad that you can’t believe them: 2.237 WHIP, 12.8 hits per 9, and free passes to 7.3 per 9.

Yet it was even worse than that. Even the official baseball-reference blog posted a chart which showed his ERA+ to be the second worst in all of baseball among pitchers with at least 30 games, behind only Chad Qualls.When I dissected him a few weeks ago, I noted that he had gone six weeks without a strikeout. Think about that for a second.

A quicker fall from grace I simply cannot remember, and it’s shocking.

So what’s next? It’s unlikely that he’ll be claimed off of waivers with that kind of performance, so assuming he clears the Dodgers will likely try to option him to AAA, since they’re on the hook for his salary anyway. A veteran of his tenure cannot be sent down without his permission, so he’d have the choice of becoming a free agent instead, but he’d have to forfeit his salary to do so. (I think. Double-checking that.)(Yep, Ken Gurnick confirms it.)

As for the Dodgers, they do need a fifth starter on Monday against San Francisco, meaning John Ely is ineligible since it’s inside his ten-day window, unless someone gets hurt. (Speaking of which, we couldn’t have found a way to say Sherrill was hurt?) James McDonald is the likely choice for that role, but there’s also no need to recall him until just before that game. Personally, I’d love to see fireballing ex-catcher Kenley Jansen get a shot; he’s striking out an insane 16.1/9 for AA Chattanooga, while sporting a 1.88 ERA.

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If you haven’t yet, please be sure to read Molly Knight’s profile of the McCourt divorce mess for ESPN the Magazine. It’s illuminating, but it’s not going to make you feel any better about the situation.

Funny How A Sweep Makes Everything Better


We all know where today’s focus is going to be, right? After the much-publicized benching, alleviated only by Manny’s hamstring injury, Matt Kemp came back today to get three hits, including a homer (plus a walk), drive in three, and make a few running catches in center field.

Clearly, Joe Torre’s benching/punishment/time out worked wonders, right?

That’s what the stories will say, anyway. As for me, I think it’s BS. Remember, Kemp got on base three times in his previous start, on June 26th against the Yankees. To act as though he was on an 0-40 streak headed into the benching, and that somehow Torre’s action snapped him into shape, just ignores the facts. Which is exactly why that’s how you’ll read it in Bill Plaschke’s column tomorrow.

But let’s not let this whole unfortunate situation overpower two performances which were just as important today. Vicente Padilla showed just how effective he can be when he’s right, allowing just three hits and a run over seven innings. Remember, his ERA has been misleading all season. After his first two lousy outings, in which he allowed eleven earned runs while not making it out of the fifth inning either time, Padilla’s allowed three, two, (DL stint), four, two, and one earned runs in the five starts since. It’s not ace-quality, but it is more than acceptable from your #4/5 starter, and better than what the majority of MLB teams are getting from that spot.

Suddenly, the Dodgers have five reliable starters again, and no wondering about which Haeger/Monasterios/Ortiz is going to have to be stuffed into a spot start. (Speaking of which, via Dodger Thoughts, Haeger will be joining the Isotopes. Glad he’s staying in the organization; I don’t think we’ve seen the last of him.) It’s a nice feeling to have.

Secondly, Rafael Furcal put up four more hits today. In his last five games, he’s got fourteen hits (and three walks), and he’s got his season average up to .333/.382/.488. He’s really playing some of the best baseball of his career, and the Dodger lineup just looks markedly different when he’s playing well and getting on base so often for the big guys.

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Still, as if this hasn’t been a bad enough week for Torre, only he could spoil an 8-2 sweep-capping victory over your biggest rivals. Kemp situation aside, you almost think this team is winning in spite of Torre sometimes. First, he hits Jamey Carroll (.397 OBP) 8th, while putting Garret Anderson (.197 OBP, and more on that in a second) 6th, above Reed Johnson and Carroll – both superior players.

However, that’s nothing compared to the bullpen usage. After Padilla went seven effective innings – and he’d thrown just 98 pitches, so I have no idea why he couldn’t have just stayed in – Ramon Troncoso came in for the 8th. I’m seeing others complain about that, but Troncoso hadn’t pitched since the Yankee disaster on Sunday, and it’s not the worst idea to let him go in a low-pressure situation, so fine.

Here’s what killed me, though. In the 9th, George Sherrill came in. He got Aubrey Huff to ground out, and then allowed singles to Pat Burrell and Pablo Sandoval (on a side note, note that this means he got the lefty out and let two righties reach base. Why does that sound familiar?) Remember, this is a seven-run lead. Rather than, you know, letting your struggling reliever try to work out of the situation against the likes of Juan Uribe and Eli Whiteside, here comes Torre with the hook, to bring in Justin Miller. I know there’s a day off tomorrow, but I also know that with a lead like that, you can give Sherrill the tiniest bit of rope. Or, as Chad from MOKM perfectly noted:

It’s like Joe Torre reads everybody’s blog and Twitter and just starts wasting the bullpen to troll us.

Still, none of that is the best part. When Miller entered the game, none other than Hong-Chih Kuo started warming. Yes, in the 9th inning of a seven-run game, by all means get your fragile superstar lefty up. Why not?

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Finally, Anderson went hitless in five at-bats today, striking out four times and popping out to first. I’m just completely out of things to add to this situation. I hate to bag on a guy on his birthday (he’s 38 now), but to say that he’s a waste of a roster spot is about the kindest way I can think of to describe it. He’s now hitting .180/.197/.287. What do we have to do to finally end this already?

Xavier Paul’s hitting .345/.402/.633 with 12 HR in AAA, by the way, and three of those homers have come in his last ten games. But no, I’m sure he’s not a better fit for this defensively-challenged, injury-prone outfield, right?