The Dodgers found another impressive way to continue their losing streak and shellacking at the hands of their freeway foes, when Russell Martin was tagged for the third out in the ninth inning after rounding second base on a bloop single by Jamey Carroll that should have resulted in a game-tying RBI (Reed Johnson touched home plate a fraction of a second after Martin’s gaffe). Although replays showed Martin to beat the tag, the Dodgers’ foolishness on the base paths was jaw-dropping. Right before Carroll’s single, Matt Kemp was also picked off second base. Two completely unnecessary base running errors spoiled the opportunity to capitalize upon Jonathan Broxton’s early entrance into the game during the 8th inning. Broxton certainly needed the work, but his inclusion into the game underscored Joe Torre and the rest of the staff’s desperation to end a mid-season slide before it potentially turns into a free fall. Even more frustrating was peering into the visitors’ dugout to see the presence of Angels general Mike Scioscia, a former beloved Dodger who was denied the opportunity to manage the Blue Crew. Scioscia was happily nabbed by the Angels and is considered to be among the very best at controlling the running game.
Scioscia is now the second longest tenured manager in baseball and it is very clear who is the face of the Angels organization. After the Angels padded their record once again courtesy of the Dodgers (now at 5-0 with one game left in the series), Dodger fans should discipline themselves to avoid thinking about the potential state of the franchise had Scioscia skippered the team. One should avoid questioning whether Matt Kemp’s complete lack of focus in 2010 would be tolerated under big Mike. Or whether Russell Martin’s defense would suffice. Or whether he would have green-lighted 45 million to Manny Ramirez. The list could be everlasting.
Scoscia has done a masterful job yet again in 2010. The Angels let their staff ace, leadoff man, and cleanup hitter walk in the off-season. They scuffled out of the gate and lost offensive machine Morales after a walk off grand slam. The bullpen has hardly been reliable, or even average. The starting pitching is completely hit or miss. Yet, the team has rallied together after Morales’ injury and collectively surged offensively. Considering how often the Angels exceed the performance that numerous statistical projections consistently project, it’s safe to say that Scioscia is a master chef with the capability to make any team greater than the sum of its parts.
Of course, the Dodgers problems originate at upper management, not necessarily the on-field staff. Yet, after another gift-wrapped win for the Angels under the helm of the sturdy Mike Scioscia, it would be hard to blame Dodger fans for looking into the opposing dugout and being reminded of another organizational decision gone horribly wrong.