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Open Thread: Game 91 - @ St. Louis

Last night was a bad game man.  The home run to Juan Encarnacion seemed to sum up the whole game.  Last year's CY Young award winner Chris Carpenter shut down the Dodger defense with a two hitter and Derek Lowe's problems continue.

Matt Kemp was sent back to Las Vegas to make room for Ledee on the roster.  That means a lot of Lofton in center.

The Dodger site reports that Little and Perez had a talk.  For now Perez remains in the bullpen.  How long he stays there will probably depend as much on his attitude as his pitching.

As promised some thoughts on Bill Plaschke's LA Times column titled "Trade Wasn't Worth a Penny".  Plaschke's words in bold.

    "And the truth is, the trade still stinks.  Stunk then.  Stinks now.  Smells forever.  The truth was also behind the plate, in the presence of catcher Paul Lo Duca, whose leadership the trade eliminated."

I'll give Placshke this one.  Lo Duca was a valuable part of the Dodgers and brought life back to the team.  I enjoyed watching him play.  

    "The truth was also in the bullpen, in the absence of Eric Gagne, whose career the trade may have ruined."

Say What!?  Here is Plaschke's logic.  They traded Guillermo Mota who had been effectively pitching the eighth inning leaving the ninth for Gagne.  Dreifort went down with injury and Tracy didn't have faith in Brazoban, who as I recall pitched fairly well.  So Tracy pitched Gagne in multiple innings in several games at the end of the 2004 season wearing down Gagne's arm.  Let us look at the flaws here:
1.    Gagne didn't start having arm problems until the end of Spring Training 2005.  The problems started after Gagne tried to keep pitching with an injured leg that may have caused him to alter his delivery and injure the arm.  In fact Plaschke wrote a column last year about how he realized that Gagne had an injured leg and shouldn't be pitching.  The main point of the column was how Plaschke wished he had tried harder to convince Gagne to tell someone about the leg injury.
2.    The assumption is that Mota would have continued pitching the way he had.  Mota has been a disappointment since the trade.  The Marlins tried him as a closer and soon removed him from that position.  Mota was traded to the Red Sox and is now with the Indians.  He is mediocre a best.
3.    Tracy made some questionable management decisions after the trade.  He had more options than over working Gagne.  I questioned Tracy's pitching moves long before the trade.  All managers have to deal with personnel changes.  The good ones don't use them as excuses.

"And the truth is in the standings, the Dodgers requiring a giant effort simply to reach mediocrity in a division where, two years ago, the stage was set for dominance.  The trade cleared that stage.  It cost the Dodgers a manager, a general manager, and perhaps three years of legitimate championship contention."

I watched the Dodgers in 2004.  I was at the game where they clinched the division title against the Giants.  It was exciting.  But I wouldn't say that team was posed for division dominance.  They were closer to overachieving.  The other teams in the division have improved considerably in the last two years.  How is being 2 games out of first in a division with only one team playing under .500 ball at the time he wrote this mediocre?  At the All-Star break the last place Diamondbacks would have been tied for third in the central and would have been second in the east.  That is a strong division without the opportunity of multiple series against the poor performing Cubs, Pirates or Nationals.  Plaschke seems to be downplaying the good play of this year in order to show his unhappiness of DePodesta and the trade that brought Penny.

If Plaschke wants to be critical of a trade how about the one that traded a top prospect catcher for a mediocre pitcher and a catcher that is less than thrilled about playing back up to rookie.

Go Blue.

The Pitching Match-up:

Mark Hendrickson (LHP, Dodgers) vs. Jeff Suppan (RHP, Cardinals)

For your (46-44) Los Angeles Dodgers:

Furcal, SS
Cruz, CF
Garciaparra, 1B
Drew, RF
Kent, 2B
Ethier, LF
Izturis, 3B
Hall, C
Hendrickson P

For the (50-39) St. Louis Cardinals:

Eckstein, SS
Taguchi, LF
Pujols, 1B
Rolen, 3B
Encarnacion, RF
Edmonds, CF
Luna, 2B
Molina, C
Suppan, P