The Wild Beasts Will Be Led by a Child

The well known Christian hymn "Peace in the Valley" has a great line which says "and the beasts of the wild will be led by a child." We loved to hear Johnny and June Carter Cash, backed up by the Carter Family and the Oak Ridge Boys do that particular song.

Going into the weekend series against the Mets, who sported baseballs best 2006 record, we were wondering how we could manage a split in the four game series and escape with any lead at all heading into the last 2 1/2 weeks of the season.

When we noticed manager Grady Little had chosen Too Wild Kuo and What's name Stults for two games, we thought he'd lost all his marbles. When Bad Penny lost and Greg Maddux ran into kryptonite legging it all the way to third base, we started figuring if we still had a chance at a wild card berth.

Well brothers Kuo and Stults, rookies both in their first big league start right in the midst of a steamy pennant race, stepped up and personally resuscitated the Dodgers season. Instead of gloom, despair and agony on us, the unlikely duo elicited such serious comments as "gee whiz," "where did they come from?", "why didn't some genius figure out Kuo might be a better starter than reliever before this (much before this)!"

"Why were we fooling around with that basketball player (Mark Hendrickson) when Kuo was there all along?" (maybe if Kuo can go from the bullpen to starting, Hendrickson might find some luck going in the other direction.)

One year we say an aging Willy Stargell play in a September game in Wrigley Field. Willy just could not get around on a fast ball. We figured he was done.

Of course he was the league MVP the very next year. While our radio team was saying Nomar Garciaparra's bat speed on fast balls could be measured by a sundial, Nomar cracked key homers in two of the four games (the two we won). Kuo was the beneficiary of one and Eric Stultz the other.

In Jonathon Broxton, Kuo and Chad Billingsley, the Dodgers finally have three young pitchers who can bring it, who can hum the pea - something not in great evidence around the Dodgers in recent years.

Now if only our geniuses can figure out early on in 2007 how to harness and use these talents - rather than catching lightning in the bottle at a quarter to midnight, it will cause us older Dodgers fans to go light on the Pepto Bismal next season.

So while kid Kuo and resurrected Stultz were rescuing the Dodgers out of the wilds of Shea Stadium (the late Phil Spencer and I would get regularly pummeled for daring to wear Dodgers cap in the joint), Grady Little managed to rest our two better lefty kid hitters - Andre Ethier and James Loney - against two righty Mets pitchers.

He opted to play Marlon Anderson over Ethier in two games, and Loney, who led the Pacific Coast League with a .380 season long batting average, was sparsely used. Why? Loney has yet to become a long ball threat, but the Dodgers are not exactly chuck full of home run hitters (we got four or five around 15 and that's it).

And while the Pacific Coast League is a hitters league, it still ain't exactly the Nebraska Farm Bureau softball league either (is it Tot?). A .380 hitter has to fit into the team someplace.

Back to pitching coaches. In recent years, we have had pitching coaches who let stumbling and limping Eric Gagne exacerbate existing injuries with even more, surely impacting his future for all time. We had pitching coaches who in the tail end of the season moved Derek Lowe from the right side of the left of the pitching rubber, with miraculous results.

Why do we have pitching coaches who do bad things early in spring training and then have to wait until four months of the season to pass by before trying something that works after the Labor Day holiday. Can we not find some pitching coaches who are effective from the first long toss days of March right on into the season?

In case we meet the Mets again, it was not unnoticed that the big lineup Mets are a tad vulnerable to lefties....

When the Dodgers play the San Diego Padres in the last set of the season, can we sneak the Dodgers out in Giants uniforms? The Dodgers cant beat the Padres, but the Padres cant beat the Giants. So can whip up some Candlestick Park winds, or otherwise think they are playing a team they can beat.

Did anyone notice the Giants hurlers had great luck with breaking balls against the Padres? Who is the Dodgers advance scout these days?

At last count, the Dodgers have suited up 52 different players this season, and 10 are now with other teams or out of baseball. That's a full deck of cards.

Two kids who started the year in the minors are leading Dodgers candidates for Rookie of the Year, catcher Russell Martin and outfielder Ethier. They'll probably face their most serious opposition from the Florida Marlins with a lowly team payroll of $15 million. But players on playoff or winning teams would normally get more votes than kids who season ends with game 164.

The Dodgers started the season with a two lettered Asian hurler. The have ended the season with two. The first was Seo, and the latter Kuo. The Dodgers should have started earlier in the alphabet and stayed there.

LA Dodgers Insider Top Stories