I do not understand Los Angeles Dodgers manager Joe Torre, at all. Prior to the playoffs we stood up for the guy, decrying the fact that he was fired by the Yankees after putting them in the Playoffs for 12 years in a row, delighting in the fact that he showed 'em by putting his new team in the post season.
And then he goes and does something stupid like he did in Game 4 of the National League Championship Series Monday night. There's Torre, with a 5-3 lead in the 8th, six outs away from tying the series against Philadelphia 2-2 -- and he decides to pull Hong-Chih Kuo just because Kuo had allowed a lead-off single. An inning earlier, Kuo got the Phillies out in order on 11 pitches, ten of them strikes, getting the last two hitters on strikeouts. He looked bleeping unhittable.
So, Kuo falls behind 2-0 to the lead-off man in the 8th and gives up a ground-ball single and out of the dugout comes Torre and out of the game goes Kuo, replaced by Cory Wade who, when the season began, was a Double A pitcher. Wade lasted 6 pitches, the third of which was sent into the Phillies bullpen by Shane Victorino for a game-tying two-run homer.
Why'd you pull Kuo, Joe?
After a fly-out and a single, out comes Torre again and now he decides it's time for his closer Jonathan Broxton. Matt Stairs hits Broxton's third pitch to Eagle Rock and it's 7-5 Phils and that is that. Now, it's hard to blame Torre for going to his closer since Broxton had gone 50 straight appearances (!) dating back to May 31 without allowing a home run but Torre's mistake was in removing Kuo in the first place and, if he felt he absolutely had to make a change, it was in not bringing in Broxton to get a six-out save instead of doing what he did: putting a rookie on the hill in the late innings with the game on the line.
Had the Dodgers won Monday, Everybody would have given them the edge in terms of winning the series. Instead, they are down three games to one and the task at hand (winning three in a row) is, while not impossible, daunting to say the least.
The last time a team came back from 3-1 down to win a best-of-seven series was Boston in the American League Championship Series last year against Cleveland.
The Red Sox will have to do it again this year to make it to the World Series. The Sox won Game One over the Rays and everything appeared to be as it should be. But in the last three games the unheard-of Rays -- the team with the worst record in the bigs last season -- have scored 31 runs and have the Bostons on the ropes, facing elimination. Tampa last night became the first team in ALCS history to score at least 9 runs in three straight games. We'd root for them were it not for the prospect of having to watch more games from Tropicana Field, easily the worst venue in the Majors, if not in all of sports. But they are an exciting team, no question about that, and that makes them fun to watch.
Maybe they could let them play their home games in the Series at Fenway. I like Fenway.