We had the flu bug going around the Dodger’s clubhouse this week. While Clayton Kershaw was getting ill, we also had another sickness going around the Dodger dugout during the opening series, and it seems to have inflicted our very own manager Don Mattingly. This terrible disease is called….the Joe Torre Disease. What is the Joe Torre Disease? Just take a look at the official definition of the disease according to the Baseball annoying manager afflictions Wikipedia….
The Joe Torre Disease, is a devastating disease that only afflicts managers, but symptoms can directly effect reliable relief pitchers. This terrible disease causes the following symptoms…Completely overworking the entire bullpen until arms are ready to fall off…bringing in six or more pitchers every game….using the same one or two pitchers for all relief and or save situations, while the rest of the bullpen is ordered to sit and watch. ..a rash of reconstructive arm surgeries. The sickness is named after the first manager to be officially diagnosed with this illness. There is no known cure.
Torre has also been found to have some kind of rare disease that makes it impossible for him to smile
At least Donnie doesn’t have that disease too right?….oh wait…uh-oh…..
Of course nobody knows how Mattingly was infected, it seemed he was impervious to this disease when he began his first season.
We all had high hopes that Mattingly had escaped infection, but then Kershaw got sick with the flu, and that triggered the Torre-Disease. As a result, Dodger’s manager Don Mattingly’s trigger happy usage of the bullpen over the weekend was perplexing and worrisome. Not that I am saying that going to the bullpen wasn’t the right call. After all, it wasn’t Mattingly’s fault that Clayton Kershaw came down with the flu and was only able to give three innings. Of course we all should give Kershaw mad props for his fortitude, he has poise beyond his years. Damn you little flu germs! Unfortunately those flu germs threw the Dodger pitching staff out of whack. So did the underwhelming performances and all the walkapaloozas. None of these were Mattingly’s fault, but I have to wonder if he could have used the bullpen more efficiently.
Mattingly had to use five pitchers in Thursday’s game, seven in Saturday’s game, and four on Sunday. Of course Harang and Capuano combined for ten of the 21 walks issued by Dodger pitching over the weekend. This increased usage led to a bag of mixed results. Chad Billingsley was the only starter to go past the fifth inning in the entire series for the Dodgers. (If Kershaw hadn’t been sick, he would have gone past five for sure) How clutch was his performance? If Billingsley has been able to right the ship, then that is a huge lift to the pitching staff. Josh Lindblom, and Matt Guerrier both looked sharp. Both providing a total of six scoreless frames. Javy Guerra saved two games this weekend, and also looked sharp. Kenley Jansen is the only reliever not to walk anyone during the series.
I think things should stabilize, because of the day off, and because a healthy germ free Kershaw is set to start the home opener on Tuesday. Still the increased bullpen usage is a little disconcerting. I never thought that Mattingly would become infected so quickly with the Torre-Disease.
If we hark-en back to the days of the Joe Torre regime, we can remember clearly his annoying compulsive habit of blowing through the entire bullpen each and every game. One time he used three pitchers to get three outs, with each pitcher pitching to just one batter. (That actually worked by the way, but still) Torre’s habit of using seven or more pitchers every single game, led to the direct destruction of several solid bullpen arms.
This is the essence of the Torre-Syndrome. Many relievers have suffered as a result of it. Just listen to the following relief pitchers and how this serious illness has affected their careers…..
Ramon Troncoso- “I was once an effective late-inning reliever. A ground ball specialist if you will. Then all of a sudden, I am pitching in every single game. One inning today, two innings tomorrow, two more innings the next day. Now my sinker won’t sink. It just spins. My arm doesn’t feel the same I have been designated for assignment because of my poor performances. I never thought this illness could affect me at all. My condolences go out to all the other pitchers who have been affected.”
Jonathon Broxton- “ I was once dominating. Then I was brought in every single game. I often wondered why Ramon and I were the only one’s pitching every day. The rest of the guys were just ordered to watch. They were never even told to warm up. One day I was told to pitch in five games during one week, and on the fifth game, I was left in for 48 pitches. Now I am giving up hits in KC.”
Carlos Monasterios-“I have been the most affected by this terrible disease. My arm is destroyed. I was a rule five guy. Never pitched in the minor leagues, and then I was called up to the big club. I was so excited initially, and very pleased at first with all the action on the mound I was getting. However the innings began taking it’s toll on my arm. I told the skip that my arm was bothering me, but he looked at me like he didn’t understand, and just said to me that I pitch tomorrow. I was brought in for a five inning relief appearance the next day. Eventually I had to have two major arm surgeries. I might never pitch again. I never knew the skip was sick. I just hope one day that we can find a cure for this terrible disease.”
We could clearly see signs of the disease this weekend as Don Mattingly brought in Jamey Wright with the bases loaded in high leverage situations twice. Even after he threw eight straight lollipops during Saturday’s fifth inning walkapallooza. The next day with our skipper infected with full blown symptoms, he called in Jamey Wright to pitch again. All total, Mattingly made 17 pitching changes during the four game series.
Because of this illness, the pitching staff was taxed beyond belief. This could have dire consequences for our young pitchers for years to come. The biggest worry is the amount of walks the staff is allowing. The Dodger staff allowed 21 walks in the four game series in San Diego. They allowed ten walks on Saturday, and eight walks on Sunday. So please this week while at home, cut it out Donnie.
While there is no known cure for this disease, there is however treatment options. If you or any of your loved ones have fallen victim to this disease, please contact Lasorda’s Lair immediately. We will be more than happy to provide counseling for anyone who has been affected. There is only one sure fire treatment for the Joe Torre-Disease. That is of course a complete game shutout win from Clayton Kershaw this Tuesday. If you or anyone you know has been affected by this disease, please don’t hesitate to call if you need help. Our operators are standing by to assist. Toll Free number-1-800-nomoreblownarms