11 August 2009

Destination Home

Imagine a long day's journey toward a waiting home. A comfortable, comforting house, with the warm glow of a fire beckoning through a lower window, and a strong wooden door that will swing open in welcome when you arrive, and then once inside, the smell of roast chicken and potatoes, a welcome repast for a weary traveler. There's only one thing. You still have to reach it. The journey will be difficult.

The Sky Unravels

If the sky tells the future, then the signs and patterns in the sky were ominous for Dodger fans through the first three innings of last night's game. Sanchez started out with flair and dominance, striking out four in a row at one point and generally looking as if he would go ahead and shut down the Dodgers and lift up the cries of "Beat LA" from his rowdy partisans. Only his bouts of wildness provided any hope, and it was easy enough to lose sight of that. Sanchez started out five Dodger hitters with 2-0 counts through the first three innings, but only two reached and none scored.

If there was a road home, I could not see it. If there was a star to show the way ahead, it was lost in cloud and shadow. I felt about the game in the first three innings the way I did about the game when Stults faced Vasquez this past Sunday. Stults was not terrible but he could not match Vasquez. Even when the score was only 1-0 in that game the losing result felt inevitable, and it turned out to be. And here we were again, a day later, another 1-0 score, another Dodger starter who just seemed outclassed by his rival. Could Kuroda hang on? Would the Dodgers offense ever arrive, take advantage of the small opening provided by Sanchez's wildness?

The Sunlit Path

Lost and cold. Cold in spirit and mind, because the way seems hopelessly lost. But then the unraveling of the sky reverses. The light of the heavens is stitched together again, and the thought and hope comes that the way home will soon be found. And then, ahead, a path of light! Straight and true, a sunlit path, a smooth road, gently rising, with cliffs to the left and a river valley to the right. Straight and true, this is the road home.

Kemp's double was the road home, straight and true. It was the sunlit path, cutting through the noise and chaos of beat LA and ending up safely home after Loretta's single. The hope that Sanchez's wildness would betray him was true. The bases were loaded --- but the hit, they still needed that hit --- and they got it, straight and true down the line.

The innings after, four, five and six, were smooth and safe, with Kuroda never wavering and the Dodgers holding strong with a 4-1 lead. Home seemed so close, even as it was miles away. It was visible, a warm point of light in the distance.

The Rocky Descent

When Kuroda came out, with eight outs still to go, I thought that even if we could not always expect perfection from the Dodger bullpen, we should be able to expect a three run lead to be preserved with less than three innings to go. But with a bullpen you never know. There is no longer a sure road. All it takes is one bad step, a stumble, and then home may never come.

When Kuo came in I was thinking about that home run he gave up Saturday. But Lewis was left shaking his head after he whiffed on a rise-ball. Then Belisario got his guy, and got Hudson bowled over by the ball, too, but anyway, just six outs to go. So close! But the closer home, the rockier the path.

Sherrill came in and pitched a decent eighth --- though brilliant in the run column. I think, right now, Sherrill may well be a slightly better pitcher than Broxton, but only because I still don't think that Broxton is quite right. There is no question that at his best Broxton is the better pitcher. I wonder if it would be best for Broxton to be shut down for two weeks, to make sure that toe and everything else that might be wrong is fully healed.

But Broxton pitched, and the job got done, mostly by the fielders, not the pitcher, but that counts too. Home. Finally, we were there. The door swung open, revealing the comforting, warm glow of victory over the Giants. There's nothing else like it.

Tonight we get to do it all again.

Game 113 Unfair Win Shares ( Dodgers )

Kuroda -- 1
Kemp -- 1
Castro -- 1

The share I award to Juan Castro for his game ending dive and throw out from his knees is probably among the worst unfair win shares I have ever given, or among the best. I just think Broxton was so shaky, giving up all those hard hit balls up the middle, not to mention the home run, that it would have been really really dangerous to let the inning continue. And Castro didn't let it continue.

Game 113 Unfair Loss Shares ( Giants )

Sanchez -- 2 ( F -- 1, J -- 1 )
Lewis -- 1

That's one unfair loss share each for Freddie Sanchez and Jonathan Sanchez. Fred Lewis was probably the noisiest, can-eatingest Giant goat, mostly for his goofy fake-and-go caught stealing in the second just ahead of Ishikawa's home run. I love the description of the play in espn's play-by-play of the game: F Lewis out at second on runner's fielder's choice. What the hell is runner's fielder's choice?


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