Who would have thought there'd ever be a situation where we would rather see Marlon Anderson than Julio Lugo.
How about "if we had Joe Beimel, we wouldn't have had to bring in Brad Penny."
I partially can't fault Grady for bringing in Penny. We needed someone with a prayer of getting someone out, and assuming you can't use Broxton or Saito, Penny was that guy. However, in a situation where Penny may be injured, and he hasn't been able to get anyone out for three months, is it a good idea to throw him in a new role? Also, if you know that the heart of the lineup is coming up, why not use Broxton, and then let Penny pitch to the bottom third of the order? Also, why on Earth is Aaron Sele on the roster? He can't get anyone out, and Hendrickson can perform mop up duty. Someone like Elmer Dessens at least has a shot at a scoreless inning, and if he's around, maybe Penny doesn't have to come in.
To be fair to Penny, he really should have got out of the inning. The pitched he walked Beltran on was called a strike all day, and after that he gave up a double play ball and a pop fly. I still think he should be the game four starter, with Billingsly ready to go on short notice.
Besides, there was one brain dead moment that everyone can recognize. Third base coach Rich Donnelly sending both Jeff Kent and J.D. Drew to their demise in the second inning. Dodgers.com has the account.
After waving Kent home, Donnelly turned toward the plate, expecting to see one out recorded. He then saw Drew breeze by and knew that potential disaster loomed.
Never did Donnelly provide the stop sign to Drew, who says he would have definitely been able to stop at third base.
"I thought Jeff was scoring standing up. I couldn't see what the ball did in the corner," Drew said. "Once I rounded second, my whole thing is to pick up Rich, and he was waving us home. So, I thought the play was on me."
Third base coach is one of the easiest jobs in the world. All you have to do is say "stop" or "go" six or seven times a game. Donnelly simply forgot to do his job. It's not like Drew was right on Kent's heels, there was a good couple seconds between them. If the last thing J.D. Drew sees is "go", he's going to go. The Dodgers have had several instances of guys getting cut down at the plate by miles this year, and Rich Donnelly gets the blame. No place that I know of tracks something like third base coach effectiveness, no maybe he really isn't that bad compared to the league, but it seems like there's been far more outs at the plate this year than there have been in the past.
Besides this, the other move that really irked me was the double pitch out to Paul Lo Duca with two out in the eighth. In this situation, the most important thing to do is get Lo Duca out. If you do, the inning is over, no matter how many bases Reyes steals. If he gets on, Reyes is going to at least second anyway, you have another man on base, and Carlos Beltran is up. By starting Lo Duca with a 2-0 advantage, his on base percentage jumps from .355 to .493. The marginal gain you get from preventing a Reyes stolen base is not worth it. A 1st and 2nd situation with two outs, is infinitely more valuable than retiring Lo Duca. When Willie Randolph didn't send Reyes, he simply out managed Grady. Fortunately, nothing came of it.
Of course, the series isn't over with that one loss, but throwing away a game that really should have been won in a best of five series does hurt. Hopefully, Kuo can keep up his magic tonight.