Throughout his tenure with the NY Yankee scumstripes, Joe Torre was perhaps criticized more for his handling of his pitching staff, and in particular his bullpen, than for any other aspect of his game. As the Dodgers looked like they were assured of taking two-out-of-three from those same scumstripes this weekend, it was Torre’s handling of the pen that again did him, and the Dodgers, in.
Totally wasting a fine effort from Clayton Kershaw, not to mention 5-0 and 6-2 leads, Torre chose to leave usually stellar closer Jonathan Broxton in throughout a disastrous ninth inning, throwing 48 pitches, and allowing four runs. Even a casual observer knew Broxton did not have it tonight, when he entered the game throwing 92 and 93 MPH fastballs, rather than his usual 96-98 “warm-up” throws. I don’t think he ever exceeded the occasional 97, let alone his usual upper-level range of 99-100. I guess Joe just didn’t see it, or was hoping Broxton would suddenly “click”, but the only “clicking” that was heard was the sound of scumstripe cleats hitting the plate, as they scored the four tying runs in the ninth.
Besides blowing a key game the Dodgers seemingly had locked up, Broxton now should not be anywhere near the mound for perhaps the first two games of the important series against the second-place Giants. The good news is that Chad Billingsley is back from the DL and rehab to start tomorrow.
The Angels start a series with Texas, that getting close to the midway point and the All-Star break, is key to their team morale, not to mention the numbers game, as they continue to trail the Rangers by 4-1/2. Eric Aybar returning much sooner than anticipated was a big boost, as was the return of Jeff Mathis from his group of injuries. The Angels should now settle down with a more steady lineup of Mathis behind the plate and Mike Napoli at 1B. And, that grand slam hit by Brandon Wood should give him some confidence, and just maybe it will be the start of some consistent offense form the perennial can’t miss untouchable prospect.
In a season that has seen my pick to win it all, the Red Sox, go into the season with health issues involving key players, that saw them lose new CF Mike Cameron for an extended period, that saw them lose LF Jacoby Ellsbury for basically the entire first half, if not more, and that saw an ineffective Josh Becket go on the DL with no real timetable for his return, it got much worse the past couple of days. Frist, Dustin Pedroia, who also had missed a few games with minor injuries, broke a bone in his left foot. Then Clay Buchholz hyper-extened a knee on the basepaths, where he should not have been and would not have been were it not for interleague play, and then to top it all off, today Vic Martinez broke his thumb.
The Angels have a steep mountain to climb without Kendrys Morales, but the Red Sox have Mt. Everest to climb with their hospital list.