I was dozing off when the ninth inning started yesterday. The Dodgers were up 5-1 and I was comfortable and lazy. When I did think about something it was not about who would pitch in the ninth inning for the Dodgers but about where I might have a short nap while I waited for the last load of clothes to dry.
Loney's error woke me up. But what really woke me up was my fear of Chan Ho Park. There was about a week where I fully trusted him. Those days of foolish innocence are gone. My conclusion early in the season was correct. He's a home run yielding menace. I about felt the same as Park when he hurled his glove to the ground after Braun's home run, except that I had nothing to throw. Also I liked the Dodgers chances to score in the ninth, as long as the Brewers didn't hit another home run to take the lead. Fortunately Prince Fielder capped his terrible series with a ground out and the stage was set for Golden Boy Matt Kemp and Silver Bullet Andre Ethier.
I wonder now if it was better that the Dodger game ended up 7-5 and not 5-1. That's kind of crazy talk, but it all depends on your standards I think. For Kershaw it wasn't better because he didn't get the win. For Torre it wasn't better because he had to be pensive and tense for longer than otherwise. For Park is was awful because he was further exposed as an actually terrible pitcher.
And yet that game ended up being terrifically entertaining. Horrifically entertaining there, for awhile. I was twice as happy after the 7-5 victory than I would have been after they hypothetical 5-1 victory. Game winning home runs are delightful. I want more of them. Does that mean I want more ninth inning bullpen meltdowns, though? No, no! What am I saying?
About a half minute after the home run I said to my wife, "Take that, Pierre!" This shows how petty I've become about Pierre stealing playing time from Ethier. How sad that one of my first thoughts after Ethier won the game was how it showed again how superior he is to the slap-tacular Pierre. The only advantage Pierre has over Ethier at this point is that he's faster and that Torre feels sorry for him occasionally and feels compelled to start him. I hope Pierre keeps bitching about his playing time to the press. That should dry up Torre's last bit of sympathy for Juan.
If Pierre was the Dodgers third-best outfielder then I would gladly see him start, though I would also be upset that the Dodgers third-best outfielder had no throwing arm and no power and also had an annoying batting tick where he jerked in his back elbow like a chicken just before the pitch came. But he's only fourth best, clearly inferior to Andre Ethier, which is why I've nicknamed Ethier the silver bullet because his home runs have felled the were-Pierre who used to start every game.
I've become really accustomed to the Dodgers playing well. I can't even remember the last time it felt like the team wasn't in the game. The last three losses were all tough ones that got away late. The key here is the lineup is solid from 1 to 8 most nights now, except when you-know-who starts ahead of the silver bullet. Oh yeah, and Nomar can't always start, and who knows how long he can keep up his good hitting or his health, but it's still a good lineup. Eighty-eight wins looks like a real possibility now. With the Snakes also playing well they may need that many.