A good general puts his lieutenants in a position to win, right?
So Grady Little basically raised the white flag the second he filled out his lineup card for last night's game, in which the Dodgers were pounded by the Rockies 7-2 in Colorado.
What better way to instill confidence in your starting pitcher, Derek Lowe, a sinkerball pitcher who tends to approach his starts in a binary fashion (he's either on or he's off). Knowing that he is going to struggle to get the ground balls he needs at Coors Field, Lowe looks over at the lineup card to see Russell Martin, Jeff Kent, and Luis Gonzalez all taking the day off. And batting cleanup is Mike Lieberthal, backup catcher batting .200 on the season (1-for-5).
Lieberthal goes 0-for-4 in the cleanup slot with 3 LOB, dropping his average to .111. The 7 and 8 slots, filled by Wilson Betemit and Ramon Martinez, get one hit each to RAISE their averages to .097 and .200, (dis)respectively. Throw in an error from Andre Ethier that caused a Rockie run (Ethier did have an impressive triple in the second inning and later scored), and Lowe must have felt like the cards were stacked against him. (They were.)
And then Lowe almost gets shelled in the noggin by a comebacker? No wonder he phoned it in and took the loss.
photo: David Zalubowski/AP