I was half-heartedly watching yesterday's game at work, occasionally flipping over to the game for a few minutes. Entering the sixth, I switched over and saw that Tomko had no on, one out and was facing the always dangerous Ronny Cedeno. Feeling that the game was well in hand, I went back to work. I came back, and well, the rest of the story sort of tells itself.
There is no way Tomko should have been pitching to Aramis. However, I think bringing in Tomko to start the inning was a fine idea. It's easy enough to say that Grady should have brought in Broxton or Saito, but you can't simply truck those guys out there every time the Dodgers are up or down by three. They'd be pitching an inning and a half a game at that rate. If you can't bring those guys in, who do you bring in? Beimel? Dessens? As much as it pains me to say this, Tomko is the third best pitcher in the bullpen, and this is the sort of situation where he should be coming in. I hate going out of the way to acquire middle relievers because they're cheap and their performance is near random, but right now, the Dodgers don't have enough of them. When the back end of the bullpen is filled with cruft like Hamulack, Carrara and Sele, you're forced to bring in Tomko when the outcome of the game can be affected. Hopefully, Ned solves this problem next year by looking within the organization or at castoffs with some potential, rather than signing David Riske.
Fortunately, the Phillies lost yesterday, leaving them tied with the Giants three games behind the Dodgers. Unfortunately, now the Dodgers actually need to have a decent series with San Diego to maintain a comfortable lead over the wild card contenders, let alone the Padres. Much has been made of the fact that the Dodgers haven't been able to beat the Padres since the New Deal, but for now, I'm just going to chalk that one up to sample size rather than any actual inability to beat the Pads.
Right now, the last two NL playoff spots are going to be decided in this five-team race:
If the Dodgers can simply split this series, they can pretty much wrap up their playoff spot, since very few teams have managed to lose a two game lead at this point in the season. The only way for Philadelphia and the Giants to gain any real ground is if they win at least three of the next four and the Dodgers drop three of four to the Padres. The Dodgers just need to play solid baseball, no miracles, no Herculean efforts, just tread water. That seems perfectly reasonable.
I'd gladly take a Herculian effort, however.
Where Will The Dodgers Be On Tuesday?
This poll is closed
4.5 ahead of the Padres
2.5 ahead of the Padres
.5 ahead of the Padres
1.5 behind the Padres
3.5 behind the Padres