After a promising first inning where the Reds went down 1-2-3, Chad Billingsley suddenly started “grooving” pitches and giving up hits. ”Here it is right down the pipe for you, go ahead and hit it,” and they did. Chad didn’t walk anyone in his three pathetic innings. Instead, he pitched like a man who had been told he was going to be flogged with a cat-o-nine tails if he didn’t throw that ball right down Broadway.
As someone said yesterday, you can’t fire the players, so maybe it’s time to fire the guy whose job is to instruct these guys. His training, teaching, mentoring and instruction isn’t working. Rick Honeycutt is a genuinely nice guy, but the pitchers aren’t listening. It’s time for a new voice. Clayton Kershaw, Chad Billingsley, and now Ramon Troncoso, have been plagued with fits of “walkitis.” The wildness has been an issue for a few years and maybe, just maybe, the Dodgers success in pitching the past few years has been more of a testament to the drafting ability of Logan White and Company and not a glowing endorsement of Honeycutt. Maybe the pitchers have been as good as they have been because of their ability and not the instruction they are receiving. Ken Howell is the bullpen coach, and while another really great guy, the Dodgers need a new voice. This one is not working.
The Dodgers already have a seventy year-old “figurehead” manager (which may or may not be just what they need), in that Don Mattingley and Bob Schaefer handle a lot of the managing decisions. Honeycutt handles the pitching staff and Torre handles his horses. It was revealed that he was going to visit his derby horse whose name is something like “Somebody’s Homeboy or the Other.” Look, you can visit your horse in the off-season. This team has some issues with it’s pitching and you had better solve them, Joe. Hold your horses, you need to be calling new candidates for the job that should be open.
The Dodgers lead all of baseball with a .306 batting average, but are 26th in ERA at 5.55 – only the Washington Nationals, Kansas City Royals and Pittsburgh Pirates have allowed more runs. Chad Billlingsley had a live arm last night, hitting 93 MPH on the gun. When a pitcher with his stuff gets beat like a rented mule, you have to do something. When walks plague your best setup man and costs you the game, you have to do something. When your best pitcher has 15 bases on balls in 17 innings pitched, you have to do something. When a team such as the Dodgers, with a long legacy of exceptional pitching has a 5.55 team ERA, you HAVE to do something. It’s way past time to do something about it!
When you do what you have always done, you get what you have always gotten and that is INSANE! It’s time to change. Do Joe and Ned have the guts to do it?
There may be another BIGGER issue at work here: Do the Dodgers have a good minor league pitching policy? Maybe they should consider doing what the Cubs did when they made Greg Maddux a special assistant to the GM and in charge of the team’s pitching programs. Who should fill that spot for the Dodgers? Do we need a “Pitching Czar?” Give me some ideas….
- After 2 shutout innings where he looked pretty impressive, Jon Link was sent back to AAA while Ramon Ortiz and his 8.00 ERA got to say. I don’t know, but I think I would have liked to see more what Jon Link is about.
- It was obviously a bad move to insert Belliard at 1B in the bottom of the 8th inning. Yes, I am second-guessing, but you don’t put in an inexperienced 1B in at the end of a tie game.
- Garrett Anderson hit the ball very hard only to be robbed of a hit and extra-bases by Jay Bruce, w ho caught it at the wall.
- Does anyone still think Casey Blake is washed up?