Padres Counter Dodgers; Angels Predictably Silent
The Dodgers got the pitcher they needed to fill out their rotation, but there was only one problem.
The team already seven games in front of them might have helped itself even more.
While Joe Torre’s gang was acquiring solid Ted Lilly and second baseman Ryan Theriot for former second baseman Blake DeWitt and adding reliver Octavio Dotel, the San Diego Padres went out and grabbed outfielder Ryan Ludwick who, almost by default, immediately becomes the second best hitter in their lineup.
Lilly will be the Dodgers’ No. 3 or 4 starter, which is exactly what they needed and Dotel will fortify the bullpen. But Ludwick, who was acquired from the Cardinals in a three-way deal, gives Bud Black somebody to hit behind Adrian Gonzalez and that’s a scary thought, considering their All-Star first baseman was having another excellent year even without any lineup protection.
Yes, the Dodgers also acquired top-of-the-order hitting Scott Posednik, but again, San Diego countered with Miguel Tejeda, who is hardly the impact player he used to be but still is better than anything else the Padres currently have at shortstop.
Either way, give both teams credit for trying to improve their situations before the trade deadline. It is certainly more than could be said for the staid Angels, who should have been trying to pick up a few prospects here and there by dumping players.
Maybe Friday night’s 9-7 victory over Texas was the worst thing that could have happened to Mike Scioscia’s team. It might have given Scioscia and GM Tony Reagins false hope that the Angels could win the next two games and come out of this series “just” six games behind the Rangers.
Only one thing wrong with that theory: It’s not likely to happen, especially with Texas’s new ace, Cliff Lee, going on Sunday.
Juan Rivera, who appeared available for a couple of cups of Starbucks earlier in the week, hit a home run and drove in four, again maybe teasing the Angels into thinking he could have a big second half.
Even if he does, the liability he’s now become in the outfield offsets most of that.
The Angels don’t want to face realilty, though. After weeks of watching that popgun offense struggle to score two or three runs a game, they want to believe the brief extra-base explosion Friday night was a sign of better things to come.
Unfortunately, baseball doesn’t work that way. It is a game judged over time. The trick is not to be fooled by a one game folly.
It is a lesson Scioscia, Reagins and, yes, owner Arte Moreno appparently still haven’t learned.
That’s why the Padres and Dodgers are sitting there today with a cozy collection of nice, new players for the stretch run.
And the Angels are still outside waiting with false hope.
— Steve Bisheff