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Dodger Thoughts


Wednesday, August 21, 2002

It was interesting to see Tracy not pinch-hit for Kevin Brown Tuesday night, with the Dodgers trailing 4-1 with two out in the bottom of the seventh. Clearly, it was more important for Tracy to see Brown get some work then try to use either Karros or Jordan to try to get something going for the Dodgers.

Given that Brown allowed two runs the next inning, and that the Dodgers scored two runs in the bottom of the ninth, this decision may have well cost the Dodgers the game. But I'm willing to give Tracy the benefit of the doubt on this one. He weighed the probablility of a pinch-hitter getting on base and scoring with two out in the seventh (probably something like 10 percent), and decided his chances of reaching the playoffs depended more on Brown getting more work. It may not turn out to be the correct decision, but I do understand it.
I am impressed these days with Jim Tracy's handling of the Dodger starting lineup. In the wake of the July slump, Tracy has essentially benched three of the eight Dodger starters - Izturis, Jordan and Karros - to go with hotter and potentially more productive hands.

This is not to say that Alex Cora, Marquis Grissom and Dave Hansen/Tyler Houston are great offensive players by any stretch. But Tracy's willingness to be objective, and not play the players that have the reputation as starters, is refreshing.

Brian Jordan is reportedly peeved that he hasn't been starting, and I'm sure Karros is unhappy too, because he always seems unhappy. They should just be happy that someone on the team is hitting, and rest and mentally prepare for the opportunity that will surely come their way again.

Sports Illustrated's Tom Verducci pointed out this week that the Dodgers are 15th in the league in on-base percentage and first in the league in hitting into double plays. Think about that. This is an inept offensive team. There is very little margin for error for Jim Tracy.

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