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Thursday, October 15, 2009
Questioning Torre's Game 2 starter

Joe Torre has chosen Vicente Padilla as his Game 2 starter, and Dave Cameron thinks that is one big mistake:

I can't agree more. There's a tendency for managers, especially when he's got a new and suddenly successful player, to believe that somehow the player has changed. Perhaps due to better coaching, or perhaps due to the proverbial "change of scenery." But as Cameron notes, we're not talking about some kid here. Padilla has been around for a while. In his long and exactly average career, Padilla has struck out roughly six batters per nine innings. In his time with the Dodgers, though -- 46 innings, including his seven zeroes against the Cardinals last week -- he's struck out nearly nine per nine innings.

And that's not just because he switched from the American League to the National; Padilla's spent most of his career in the National League.

If the NLCS goes seven games, Padilla will get two starts and Randy Wolf just one. In his career, the left-handed Wolf has limited left-handed hitters to a .222/.293/.377 line. In the right-handed Padilla's career -- roughly the same length as Wolf's -- he's been knocked around by lefties pretty good: .297/.380/.479. Those numbers are dramatic. Against lefties, Padilla's batting average allowed is higher than Wolf's on-base average allowed, and his on-base average allowed higher than Wolf's slugging average.

The Dodgers would seem to have two big advantages in this series: they have many right-handed hitters to counter the Phillies' many left-handed starting pitchers; and they have many left-handed starting pitchers to counter the Phillies' many left-handed hitters. But Torre, based on the grand total of 46 innings, seems willing to give away, to some degree at least, one of those advantages.