by Joshua Worley
I didn't see yesterday's game. I heard the last innings on the radio, from the last inning of Stults's performance to the end of the game when I barely heard Nomar strike out through a staticky haze. The worst part of that last inning for me was Kemp's strike out. There's nothing surprising or significant about being struck out by Billy Wagner. I was just crushed by it, though. I hope for too much from Kemp, I think.
Kemp isn't a good outfielder. The physical gifts are there: his speed and throwing are are excellent. He doesn't get good jumps on the ball, though. He doesn't take good routes to the ball. He often struggles to catch the ball even when he puts himself under it.
I know all this, that Kemp struggles in the outfield. But I want to overlook it, make excuses for it. If Juan Pierre screws up a catch, I'm mad at him, even to the point of unfairness. But when Kemp screwed up the catch that cost the Dodgers the lead yesterday in the ninth, I was disillusioned and angry, though not at Kemp. I guess I was angry at my own expectations.
I felt the same way hearing Martin let pitches go by in the late innings. I don't want to believe he can get tired enough to do this. Rick Monday said he wasn't moving his feet properly. I'm not a big fan of Monday, but I have no reason to doubt him. So, my two favorite players basically lost the game for the Dodgers Sunday. Their weaknesses reached out through the radio and darkened the sky. But it's my fault. I let it effect me too much.
I wish Broxton could have struck out one of the first three batters he faced. This would have made all the difference. Still, I don't blame him for the blown game. He didn't pitch poorly. I get really defensive about Broxton, because so many poeple get down on him for no good reason. My wife doesn't trust him. Why? I ask her, and she just doesn't think he does well with pressure. He cracks a bit with runners on, she says. You know, she is right about him not doing as well when runners get on. His OPS allowed goes from 0.502 with none on to 0.604 with runners on any base to 0.793 with runners in scoring position. It's a small weakness for a really good reliever.
The Astros are up next. This team is loaded with weaknesses. The play a lot of bad offensive players, old guys like Ausmus and Biggio. Ensberg is bad this year. Hunter Pence the rookie is really good, but he may be limited by a wrist injury he suffered Sunday. Oswalt can't make his start on Wednesday. None of the Astros pitchers should scare the Dodger hitters. I wouldn't be surprised to see the Dodgers win a few high scoring games in this series, by scores such as 8-5. The Dodger hitting is better and their pitching, even in its depleted state, is also better.