Thursday, September 8th, 2005
11:13 pm - The Other Kind of Spoilers  
Well, the Dodgers may not be going to the playoffs, but at least they were able to put a couple of well-timed nails into the Giants' coffin to prevent them from making it, either. Spoiling is kind of an end in itself. Tuesday night's tenth-inning walk-off homer by Jeff Kent was very nice. Last night's game was an up and down affair. LA led 5-2 after six, but then Jeff Weaver blew up in the seventh, and the game was tied. Two more in the eighth gave the Giants a two-run lead going into the bottom of the ninth. With one out, Ricky Ledee walked, bringing Oscar Robles to the plate. Robles is a good story. He was drafted into the Astros organization after high school, but went home to Tijuana to help his father when his mother died. He then played for several years in the Mexican League, putting up some terrific numbers (.382 last year). The Dodgers invited him to spring training, but there were already too many infielders in camp, so he was sent back to Mexico City. When Jose Valentin blew out his knee, Robles came back for good, and after a rocky start, he's played well. He's a very patient hitter, and is willing to work a walk, very much in contrast to Cesar Izturis or Valentin. What he doesn't do is hit for power. He had one homer going into the game. You can probably sense where I'm going with this. With the count 2-2, Robles lofted a little fly ball in the direction of the rightfield corner. It cleared the fence by a matter of inches, and the foul pole by a matter of feet. A fan in the first row tried to catch the ball, but it bounced off his hands back onto the field. Robles thought it was off the wall and stopped at second. He may have been the most surprised person in the park when the ump signaled that he should keep going. Tie score. The Dodgers then loaded the bases on two walks and a throwing error to bring up another rookie, Mike Edwards. Edwards rifled a line drive into right to drive in the game winner. Dodgers win 9-8, and take the series.

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On top of his heroics, Robles became the starting shortstop for the rest of the season as the team has suffered another major injury. Izturis, already on the DL with a bad back, needs to have a Tommy John procedure on his elbow. Yikes! He's due back sometime before next year's All-Star game, so Robles may have the job for a while.

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This is the second bad start in Weaver's September salary drive in a row. Weaver can become a free agent after the season, and since his agent is the odious Scott Boras, odds are good he will test the waters. Speaking of Boras, he is also allegedly the agent for the Dodgers' number-one draft pick, Luke Hochevar. I say allegedly because of this story that indicates young Luke may have had enough of the dark side. Hochevar had until last Friday to either sign with the Dodgers, or go back for his senior year. The Dodgers offered a $2.3M signing bonus, while Boras wanted $4M, a number the Dodgers won't pay. The deadline came and went, and Hochevar decided to take the semester off, extending the deadline. I don't know if this was Boras's idea or Hochevar's, but I have to wonder what the NCAA will say about it if he doesn't sign.

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I'm pretty sure I had other stuff to mention, but it's late, and I've forgotten it. Time to hit the sack.
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Current Mood: crummy