Much of the last week, the story has been the same: the Phillies
offense is too great for the hand-me-down rummage sale pitching
rotation the Dodgers have. On Wednesday night, nothing had changed.
Andre Ethier jump started the Dodgers and quieted Citizens Bank Park,
with a Home Run in the first inning, after a beautiful 7 pitch at bat.
Vicente Padilla, the Dodgers junkyard discovery turned postseason ace…
Well, looked more like a junkyard find. After retiring the first two
batters, he walked Chase Utley, than walked Ryan Howard. He went 3-0
to the next batter, ex- Dodger Jayson Werth. With the count full,
Werth drove a pitch into the right field seats to get the Phillies an
early two run lead.
Despite Homers by Loney and pinch-hitter Orlando Hudson, the Phillies
still went on to smash the Dodgers and close out the series.
The Dodgers pitching staff served up four home runs. The Phil’s scored
in 6 of 8 innings. Clearly, there was a championship- quality team on
the field, and it wasn’t the Dodgers.
After all is said and done, it is hard to call this season a success.
The Dodgers did everything right in the regular season, finishing with
the best record in the National League. In the post-season? It was the
same story as last year: a sweep in the LDS, and an un-inspiring,
rather heartbreaking 5 game loss to the Phillies in the LCS.
What went wrong?
In the Dodgers case, it was the move they didn’t make that hurt more
than on field actions.
One name- Cliff Lee.
For whatever reason, be it we didn’t want to give up certain prospects,
or the McCourts were too cheap to pony up the money, getting outbid by
the Phillies was a blow the Dodgers suffered before the playoffs even
Yes, they acquired George Sherill, and that was the final piece to the
bullpen, but the lack of a clear front line- starter was so evident in
this series. The Dodgers starters went 0-3 in the series. The
worst part?- Cliff Lee has a team option for 2010- for only 7 million
dollars. Juan Pierre will make 10 million next year.
At one point, the rotation seemed to be ok. But than Arizona’s Rusty
Ryle lined a pitch- right off of Hiroki Kuroda’s head. He hasn’t been
the same since. At the time of the injury, the Dodgers had won each of
Kuroda’s last 5 starts.
Than, Chad Billingsley, who early in the season was cosidered to be in
the running for the NL Cy Young, forgot how to pitch. There is a giant
question mark over his head now. Don’t be surprised if his role is
dramatically- changed next year, if he is still with the club. The
right hander was one of the pitchers the Blue Jays wanted in return of a potential deal for Toronto- Ace Roy
Halliday. The Dodgers wanted to stick with Billingsley.
There are other holes to fill. Both Ronnie Belliard and Orlando Hudson
are free agents this year, so the search for a second baseman is on
for the 2nd straight year- unless the Dodgers decide to promote Blake
Veterens Mark Loretta, Brad Ausmus, and Jim Thome are also gone. We
need a power lefty off the bench, a backup catcher, and a backup
Perhaps the biggest problem facing the organization is Manny Ramirez.
The left-fielder put up numbers that were not-so-similar to the run he
gave the team in 2008. Not only did he get suspended for a third of
the season, but he hit under-.300 and didn’t even hit 20 home runs.
Fans are (finally) growing impatient with him, and it looks as if they
may be stuck with him. Manny has a player option for 2010 worth $20
million. He won’t be able to find that kind of money on the market, so
its more than likely that Manny will be Manny for one more year in Dodger
Ned Coletti has a few decions to make. They need add at least one
power bat, and they need to get an opening day starter. All while under the stress of the McCourts suddenly bitter divorce.
As for the World Series- I’ll surely be rooting for the American
League team. I can’t watch the Phillies win another title.
The offseason is here and that means its time to
work on bringing a ring to LA next year….. It could be Torre’s last and also…. Vin Scully.