This is the first time since September 25, the day the Dodgers clinched the Western Division title, that I have posted anything. I'm not exactly sure why that is, to be honest with you. I certainly could have posted during the division series, had I been motivated to do so. There was all good new as well. But something inside me said to wait. I think that it may have been good old fashioned superstition.
I need to confess, however, the truth about the NLCS, which I assume is completed as, like most of the series, I turned it off late in the game. The last play I saw of the season was Shane "don't hit me mama in the head" Victorino chasing down two fly balls in the bottom of the 8th and, for the umpteenth time, hit the remote. In all, I would say I watched maybe half of the entire NLCS, listened at times in the commode while smoking cigs and eating Twinkies, or basically just thought a great deal about the pennant without much involvement.
I knew it was over after the meltdown in game one. After Furcal made the first of his record tying or breaking four league championship series errors in game one and Lowe gave up homers to Utley then Burrel, I had a dreadful feeling about the outcome of the match up. When Torre opted to let Billingsley decompose on the mound in game two, giving up more runs than any pitcher has ever given up in a championship series game in two innings, I absolutely knew it was over.
The Moyer game three was a no brainer. Then, sometime during game four with us up by two going into the 8th, I had a moment where I thought "maybe" something could be happening. Had we tied up the series, "possibly" the Hammels/Bills match up tonight might have been a "real" game. After seeing Kuo throwing beebees in the 7th inning, then hitting for himself in the bottom of the 7th, I had no doubt that he would dominate the middle of the order and set it up great for Broxton to close it out in the 9th.
But, as history has so often shown, one move can change the course of rivers. Torre opted to lift Kuo after he gave up the single to Howard, put in a brilliant, but clearly exhausted, Cory Wade, Victorino golfed the two run shot into the bully, Torre replaced Wade with Broxton, who by the way had not given up a homer since July of '06, up walked Matt Stairs looking like a fifty year old bartender, and the cruel miracles kept going for the Phillies. It was a moment comparable to the Reggie Jackson shots in '77, all of which I still see as though it were yesterday, and I realized that the excitement was all over and the ravine was terminal. I am grateful for one thing about game four: listening to Vin Scully calling the two traumatic homers was worth it, if to simply hear him for what may be some of his last post-season game calling.
I only watched peripherally tonight. I saw the grotesque and really sad Furcal trio of errors, saw the Phils again take advantage of every opportunity either to score runs on our mistakes, or squelch the possible comeback. Any way you look at it, they were clearly the better team, or perhaps just simply the worst possible match up for us.
The off season? I'm not so sure how I feel right now. I have heard rumours that Jake Peavy wants out of San Diego and he may want to take Khalil Greene with him. The Padres aren't going anywhere, and they desperately need hitting (Ethier/Dewitt straight up for Jake/Khalil?). And what about Chad Billingsley? His upside was severely hurt by this series, possibly irreparably. The youngsters were overmatched at every possible at bat. Furcal is finished in LA. Is this the last time we ever see Derrick Lowe, Nomar Garciaparra and Jeff Kent in Dodger uniforms?
That leaves the giant elephant in the room: Manny. Do the Dodgers pony up the jack and sign him to three years $20 Mil? He lifted this entire town on his back and, fittingly, hit the home run tonight as the lone run. A leader without a team. Or do the Dodgers focus on pitching and make a play for CC Sabathia? A Sabathia/Peavy/Kuroda/Kershaw/McDonald combo would be unstoppable in the west. We still need middle relief. I'm not so sure what the Dodgers will do. SHOULD they sign Manny? Without question. But if not...hey...we still have Andruw Jones. Remember him?