Thank goodness the Dodgers are playing on the road and out of the time zone, finally. Who benefits the most, me or the NL West teams?
I get to watch two and half hours of the Dodgers taking on the Houston Astros before giving my thumb a workout with the “previous button” on the remote control. That would be switching back and forth with the Laker game which starts at 7:30. Of course living in Los Angeles, I only speak in Pacific Standard Time.
The bad part is, with Joe Torre and hitting coach Don Mattingly bring their philosophy of patience and walks, 2.5 hours of Dodger baseball might not get me to Jonathan Broxton innings.
The NL West is happy about this to, as the Dodgers leave Los Angeles after completing a 6-0 homestand, and streaking to 8 wins in a row.
The Dodgers have become can't miss baseball, not only by being in first place, but just to watch how the team operates. You need to watch the complete game to get an understanding of how patient the hitters are at the plate. You need to see how they get the runners over. How they draw so many walks, the reason they lead the NL in runs with 82.
Torre used this same hitting approach in the late 90's, early Y2K timeframe to win 4 championships. Some of the most important at bats in those playoff games were walks, not hits. You have seen the same with this Dodger lineup early in the season.
Another similar trait of these Joe Torre teams, a nice mix of veterans and young guys in the lockeroom. The veterans, Casey Blake, Manny, to be able to speak from experience, to teach the young guys how to do things the right way (well maybe not so much Manny in that sense). It also helps to have young guys that bring the energy to the lineup and lockeroom. It is a 162 game season, veterans can get bored with the regular season, so the young players, Ethier, Kemp, Kershaw, Billingsley, can help by bringing in that energy over the long haul of the season. Come postseason (getting ahead of myself?) the veterans are there to draw the big walk, to teach the players to use that same patience practiced in the regular season.
So Torre has done it again, finding the right buttons to push on a good mix of vets and young guys. Torre is the master of treating every player differently, which has worked in NY and now here on the left coast. Some will argue that he is in the right place at the right time…….we will dive into that later this week.
For now enjoy tonight's game as young lefty Clayton Kershaw brings in his average of over 9 K's per game against a struggling Houston Astro team and we shall see who loses next, the Dodgers or the Lakers.
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Written by Jon Bella