Many people are comparing what Vicente Padilla did today to what Jose Lima did back in 2004, and while they both beat the Cardinals in a Division series, I consider what Padilla did today much more impressive. Jose Lima was facing a team who had a 2-0 game lead in the Division series, and since no team had ever come back from a 0 - 2 deficit in a division series was not feeling much pressure. Plus Lima pitched his gem in front of 55,000 screaming Dodger fans that he fed off of.
Padilla had to pitch his game against a team who was down 2 - 0 in the series with their backs to the wall. He had to pitch on the road with 55,000 Cardinal fans rooting against him. Those were the differences.
The similarities were how easy they shut down an excellent offensive team. How expectations were zip but they shocked Dodger and baseball fans everywhere. Lima was lucky to make the team out of the bullpen when the season started and then became a key part of the rotation. Padilla was so despised by Texas management they cut him loose and ate the rest of his 12, 000,000 salary. His teammates congratulated Texas management for getting rid of him. No one was very interested in him but the Dodgers gave him a shot because Bowa/Wolf felt he could help this team.
Bloggers were dubious but Padilla has been huge from the moment he joined the rotation. His numbers were nothing extra - ordinary but unlike Sherrill and Garland he cost us nothing and gave us everything. He took the ball every four days and did his job every four days, however many considered his job done when the season ended. In a bit of surprise Joe Torre decided that Padilla was the man for the job for game three in the Division series. Not Billingsley, Not Garland but the man who had been cut loose by a team desperate for pitching and willing to eat millions to make sure he never toed the rubber for their team again. Rangers loss, Dodgers gain.
And man for the job he was. Welcome to Dodger lore Mr. Padilla, Jose Lima will enjoy your company.