Wednesday, April 07, 2004

Play ball!

Hello Ms. K:

Monday was opening day for the Dodgers and they got beat up by the Padres. But last night, woo-hoo, the Dodgers had a come from behind victory! They were down 4-0 but scratched their way back and won it in the bottom of the ninth. Young and often maligned Adrian Beltre came through with a two-run homer to tie it up it the 7th and then got a base hit in the bottom of the ninth and was plated by a pinch hit by oldster Robin Ventura.

Fans were pretty down on the new management as they didn't seem to be doing much until the dramatic last minute deal to bring in Milton Bradley, who grew up in Southern California.

Starting pitching is a concern as Nomo is older and so far has been shaky in spring training and got lit up on opening day. Ishii was rocky in spring training as well. Perez had an okay spring and Weaver remains a question mark as to whether he will live up to the potential they believe he has. Manager Tracy has opted to send his #5 starter, Edwin Jackson, down to Triple A as the fifth man won't get many starts prior to the All Star Break. As it is, Tracy will use mostly a four-man rotation with the occasional spot start by one of his long relievers.

Hitting was last year's big problem and so far the offense looks better though they stranded a whole bunch of people on opening day. Bradley's bat is much needed and all hope he will stay injury free and won't be a clubhouse and off-field problem. Hopefully, Green's bat will return to form. Lo Duca and Encarnacion are in the 5 and 6 spot.

Wanted to get your opinion on something I either heard or read from one of the local sports reporters. As you know they sometimes like to be provocative and so the comment: closers are over-rated!

The argument: they enter the game in the ninth inning, no outs but no one on base either and a one to three run lead. These guys make millions. Come on, any pitcher worth anything should be able to get three outs without getting bombed. OVER-RATED!

The argument continues: the real tough dudes are the SET-UP MEN! Here's the deal: tiring starter surrenders a few hits maybe even a few runs, the opposition is gaining confidence and has momentum, there are base runners on, the home crowd is going bananas, NOW, GO in THERE and PUT THE FIRE OUT!

Paycheck: maybe a few hundred thousand.

What do you think, Ms. Baseball?

How are the Royals doing?

Rene

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