Saturday, October 10, 2009 at 6:54 p.m.
Yesterday I predicted the Dodgers would knock the Cards out this weekend, but I didn't think it would necessarily happen Saturday--or that the Blue Crew would make it look relatively easy. The Dodgers gradually silenced the St. Louis crowd as they built a 5-0 lead. The Cards scored a measly run in the 8th, but then Boss Hogg came in to shut the door. See you next year, Tony LaRussa. As for Matt Holliday--hope you enjoyed your brief time in the Show Me State. You'll now probably be shown the exit.
Who would've thought that journeyman pitcher Vicente Padilla would throw seven innings of shutout ball, giving up only four hits. Padilla is another one of those late-season acquisitions I wrote about yesterday. He was essentially cast off by the Rangers where he had worn out his welcome. But he's been pretty good for the Dodgers, going 4-0 with a 3.20 ERA in eight games. This is his 11th season in the big leagues, but his first time in the playoffs. I'd say he's pitching for a contract next year. (He's 32 years and has a lifetime record of 98-85.)
And after Game 3, it's tempting to say that Manny Ramirez is back. He went 3-for-5 with two doubles and two RBIs. Most importantly, he looked more aggressive at the plate. But Manny's funk was so deep that it's best to be cautious. Especially since the Dodgers will have a few days off to await the outcome of the Rockies-Phillies series, which won't end any sooner than Monday--and that's assuming no more weather delays in Denver.
And then there was the Dodgers' regular season MVP, Andre Ethier. Mr. Studly fell a single short of hitting for the cycle. His two-run home run in the third inning was a monster blast. And when Rafael Furcal, the MVP of this series, singled in a run in the 4th to give the Dodgers a 4-0 lead, the air went out of the stadium. Furcal went 2-for-5 Saturday and hit .500 for the series.
So, bring on the Rockies. Or Phillies. Whoever. Wherever. Whatever.
--The Dodgers had a champagne celebration in the clubhouse. I'm not sure that's in order after the first round of the playoffs. Sure, it was appropriate after they won the division championship. And it'll certainly be in order if they win the league championship and the World Series. But I think a more sedate celebration is in order after the first round of the playoffs. Yes, they played great and should be happy, but there's a long way to go yet.
--Joe Torre managed the Cardinals from 1990-96, but had little success. He was fired during his last season there. The next year he led the Yankees to a World Series victory. Torre also played for the Cardinals and won the league MVP and batting title for them in 1971.
--Bucking his regular season schedule when he didn't travel east of Denver, Vin Scully was in St. Louis and called the game on the radio. Now if they can just get that sync problem fixed so we can listen to him while watching the TBS broadcast.