20 August 2009

Going Backwards

I guess I got over the loss during the long two hour drive back home after the game. I got what I wanted in that game, mostly. I wanted to see Kershaw pitch again, and I did, even if his outing was brief and his innings long. I wanted to see Matt Kemp play on his bobblehead night, and I did, even if he came up short at the plate and in the field. I wanted to see the Dodgers provide excitement, and they did. I wanted to see the Dodgers win. I guess 3-4 isn't too bad. A flawed three for four, with a deep sigh.

It ended for the Dodgers as it often does, with clutch outs. This is the curse of the Dodgers, that when they lose, they do it with their hands in the door, and when that door slams shut it hurts all the more. Monday's loss, in which the hitters went meekly down 1-2-3 in the ninth inning, was an aberration. Last night they got a bizarre gift from Dennys Reyes when he plunked Ethier in his only pitch of the game, but Manny, Blake and Loney couldn't get him home.

The Dodgers were down a run because of what happened in the top of the ninth, and to really understand what happened there with Broxton I think we have to go pitch by pitch.


Strike (looking)
Strike (foul)

So far, everything is fine. At this point I'm thinking he will continue his dominance of Pujols.


Broxton loses Pujols and walks him. You just can't walk the leadoff hitter in the ninth inning of a tie game. I understand Pujols is an elite hitter, but Broxton is an elite pitcher, right? At least if you walk Pujols you'd better shut down everyone else. But that's not what happened.



Broxton has now thrown 6 out of 7 pitches for balls. That is poor pitching, no matter who you're facing. But the worst pitch is coming up.

Strike (looking )

Yeah, it's a strike. But Broxton completely ignored Pujols and let him get a huge jump. In my opinion this was Broxton's worst moment. Martin had no chance to get him, but threw to second anyway and made a bad throw.

In play, deep fly out to center, Pujols scores

So, after two batters, Broxton has allowed a walk, a stolen base, and a deep fly out. This is not a good outing, no matter what happens after. You can say that Broxton was unlucky that Pujols ended up on third after the steal, but then you also have to acknowledge that Broxton was lucky that his 3-1 pitch wasn't hit for a home run instead of just a deep fly out by Holliday.


Strike (swinging)
Strike (swinging)
Strike (swinging)

Broxton is still capable of excellence. I just wish he had found it against Pujols and Holliday.


In play, easy ground out

Broxton fell behind another hitter, something he does far too often lately, but this time he gets away with it. Broxton threw 18 pitches, half of them for balls. Sometimes you can get away with that, but more often than not you can't. Maybe in this particular outing you could argue that Broxton was unlucky, though I don't buy it. But I am sure that in the long run if you throw so many pitches out of the strike zone you will not be successful. I have no problem assigning Broxton a healthy dose of blame ( but not all the blame ) for this loss, even though he didn't give up a hit. There is more to it than what shows up in the box score.

I still think Broxton can recover from his poor pitching, and in any case the game was not all about him. There were the home runs in the seventh inning by Ethier and Blake, two of the most fan energizing non-game winning non-game saving home runs I've seen in Dodger Stadium. There was McDonald's excellent middle relief. There was Wainwright's dominance through six innings, and the early possibility of a shutout, or no-hitter, or perfect game. There was Kershaw's tough outing. There was Hudson's error that made Kershaw's third inning so much longer and harder than it needed to be. There was the official scorer bizarrely ruling that Hudson didn't make an error on that play. There was hope that the Dodgers would win. There were Matt Kemp bobbleheads. There was the feeling, when Kershaw first took the mound, that maybe I was about to see a really special performance. It didn't happen, but it was nice to think about.

Unfair Loss Shares ( Dodgers )

Broxton -- 1
Martin -- 1
Kemp -- 1

Unfair Win Shares ( Cardinals )

Wainwright -- 1
Franklin -- 1
Molina -- 1

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