Saturday, April 28, 2007

Post-Game 23 Thread: Bud Black Chooses...Poorly (Dodgers 6, Padres 5)

Bud Black is a pitcher's coach, right? So maybe he got caught up in all the pre-game revelry honoring career saves leader Trevor Hoffman. That's the only way one can explain how Black could have intentionally walked struggling Luis Gonzalez, pitting a clearly laboring Trevor Hoffman against streaking Russell Martin in the top of the ninth. That gift gave the Dodgers a 6-5 victory over the Padres last night in San Diego.

With the Dodgers down 4-2, Marlon Anderson led off the ninth inning with a single and Rafael Furcal beat indecisive first baseman Adrian Gonzalez to the first base bag, leaving Juan Pierre to lay down the sac bunt to advance both runners. Nomar Garciaparra then doubled into the left field gap to score both runners and tie the game at 4. Jeff Kent then popped out to shortstop Khalil Greene for the second out.

Up comes Luis Gonzalez, who has gone from ice-cold to decently hot back to tepid this season in its short month. Gonzalez, 0-for-4 in the game and having snuffed the Dodgers' rally in the seventh (men at second and third, and Gonzo grounds out to first), was then intentionally walked by Hoffman to bring up Russell Martin. Said ESPN:

Black didn't want to take a chance by pitching to Luis Gonzalez.

"Let's go with the guy that hasn't seen much of Trev," Black said.

"I take it a little personally," Martin said. "I got psyched up. We kind of ruined his day a little bit. It was a tough day for him, I guess."

Translation: "I'm going to smoke Hoffman's ass." Martin promptly doubled off the glove of Mike Cameron in center to score Nomar and Gonzo and put the Dodgers up 6-4. They would need both runs after Takashi Saito gave up a homerun in the bottom of the ninth, still earning the save and earning the team a much-needed victory to remain in first place.

Black shouldn't have walked Gonzo, who has been wearing his liability hat for the last week after getting his average over .300 (it's now back at .282). But we're going to need him to deliver from the five-hole if we want to stay in first. I don't think Gonzo should expect to be walked should a similar situation arise again.

Congrats to Martin for the game-winning double, to Mark Hendrickson for yet another surprisingly good outing (5 IP, 1 ER, 2 BB, 4K), to Andre Ethier for two awesome catches in right, and to Nomar for an incredible 4-for-4 day.

And thanks, Bud.


Orel said...

Congratulations, Lurch!