I LOVE the kids. Love ‘em.
You think this was a big win? The difference between winning 3 out of 4 in Chicago, or merely treading water? The invaluable momentum boost a great comeback like this can give a team heading down the stretch? Well, I suggest you see just how it happened.
Heading into the 9th inning, the Blue were down 4-3. I’d be remiss to not explain that the 3 runs came on: a solo homer by James Loney (23 years of age); an RBI double by Loney; and a solo homer by Matt Kemp (22). So going into the 9th inning, with the team on the edge of a demoralizing defeat, who’s lined up to come to the plate? Martin-Loney-LaRoche. Also known as 3 of the crown jewels of this team’s touted farm system. But the veterans, like Luis Gonzalez and Nomar Garciaparra, are full of veteran veteranness, which only comes through experiencing experiences – no matter what state they’re in now. Certainly, in a game this team had to win, in a game where two Soriano home runs seemed to deliver the death knell, these kids weren’t going to have the testicular fortitude to come through. Right?
Russell Martin (24) starts us off with a single to right. (Side note: why didn’t Grady pinch-run for Turtle here? He’s definitely a pretty good base-runner, but he’s still a catcher, and one with a sore knee at that. What would have been so bad about letting someone like Wilson Valdez run here and letting Lieberthal catch in the 9th?).
James Loney (23) nubs a bleeder to the right side of the infield and smartly hustles to beat the play at first – men on first and second, no outs.
Next is Andy LaRoche (23), but no – Andre Ethier (25) comes out to pinch hit. First pitch? Strike, looking. Second pitch? No… it can’t be.. GONE! And I tell you, friends, that I was jumping around my office, feeling the same joy as was plastered all over Andre’s face rounding the bases. Pierre and Furcal teamed up for another run, but the game was over at that point. All of the first 6 runs were manufactured by players under the age of 25 – Ethier, Loney, Turtle, and Kemp. Loney and Turtle are obviously every-day players – can someone please explain to me why Luis Gonzalez ever gets to play ahead of Kemp and Ethier? I’d deleve into that further here, but it’s something we’ve been through before, and it’s deserving of it’s own topic anyway.
Enjoy this one, folks. I know I did – had we lost this game, after Soriano’s 2nd homer, I’d have been ready to pronounce the season all but over. But now? Huge momentum, coming off a 3 out of 4 series win vs. a division leader.. 2.5 out of the wild card, 3.5 out of the division lead.
- Mike Scioscia’s tragic illness