Now it all makes sense, Chad Billingsley and Brad Penny just swapped bodies. Fortunately, Penny also inherited Billingsley's ability to walk a batter an inning and not allow any runs, so good for him. Penny hasn't been able to find the strike zone for two starts now, so I'm starting to get a little concerned.
Brett Tomko is still apparently Brett Tomko. Who knew? Sadly, he's still the third best pitcher in the bullpen. His strikeout rate is still good, 8.44 per nine, but his walk and home run rates are about where they were from where he was starting. Tomko has now allowed five runs in 16 relief innings.
It amazes me how Angel fans can be confident despite being six and a half games back with thirty games to play. The Dodgers are being chased by a team missing its shortstop, their number two starter, and they have a non existent third baseman, yet I'm still fearing a choke. Of course, the Dodgers have given me reason to expect a collapse, look at how they've faired in September over the last 10 years:
|Year||Record On 9/1||Position on 9/1||Record Rest of Season||Final Position|
|2005||61-72||6 back in West||10-19||11 back in West|
|2004||77-55||5.5 ahead in West||16-14||2 ahead in West|
|2003||71-65||2.5 back in WC||14-12||3 back in WC|
|2002||79-57||2 ahead in WC||13-13||3.5 back in WC|
|2001||74-62||2.5 back in WC||12-14||7 back in WC|
|2000||71-64||5.5 back in WC||15-12||8 back in WC|
|1999||62-71||18 back in WC||15-14||19.5 back in WC|
|1998||69-70||8 back in WC||14-9||6.5 back in WC|
|1997||78-60||2 ahead in West||10-14||2 back in West|
Only once have the Dodgers actually gained ground in the standings in September. Granted, it's not fair to expect some of the lesser teams to gain ground, but is it too much to ask for something resembling a September run?
With his latest setback, Carl Pavano is well on his way to surpassing Darren Dreifort as the worst free agent signing ever. While Dreifort cost the Dodgers 13.75 million dollars per win, after two years, the Yankees are paying Pavano 21.25 million for each of his wins. Even with a backloaded contract, Pavano still just has to win 2.2 games in the next two years to surpass Dreifort. Seems mighty doable, but that would involve Pavano, you know, playing. On the bright side, at least these guys were above replacement level, unlike Russ Ortiz.
Looking at Pavano's contract, was there some drama that I didn't hear about? He got paid 39.95 million for four years, and then he fired his agent for not getting him 40 million. Couldn't the agent have sent him an extra 800 dollars a month? Was Cashman specifically trying to get the agent fired? How bad is this agent if he can't come through with an extra 50 thousand dollars, about what A-Rod makes per at bat? I must know.