Dodgers Playing Like Ryder Cup Team

Quick quiz. Who has the better chance to win, America's Ryder Cup team or the Dodgers? Answer: neither. Both are playing like chumps. America's golf represented by a team with Tiger Woods and Phil Mikkleson should have a chance to at least break even. But Tiger and Phil regularly choke when it comes to the team game. Have for years. And are if anything consistent losers.

Now the Dodgers. Four game lead late in the season. Lose 12 of 20. That spells L-O-S-E-R-S.

Dissect the 12 losses. Big, burly, strong starter Brad Penny has turned into a batting practice pitcher. Penny started the All Star game. He has won 16 games during the season. When the going got tough, Brad Penny has come up a dollar short. Downright ugly.

Had Derek Lowe got even some of the runs the Dodgers have staked Brad Penny to, he'd have 20 wins and a Cy Young season already in the bank.

Look at the pitchers the Dodgers trotted out in Saturday night's loss to Arizona: Penny, Hendrickson, Tomko, Dessens, Carrara. Now that tells you WHY the Dodgers have lost 12 of 20 - against bad teams, against last place teams.

Those five pitchers are almost half a pitching staff. And they are why the Dodgers are losing, why they will lose.

Seven games left. Game and a half behind. Behind even in the wild card berth.

Behind. Behind. Behind.

Just plain awful.

Every trade is a risk. A chance to win. A chance to lose. The Mark Hendrickson trade has been a disaster.

The Julio Lugo trade has been a disaster.

Signing free agent Brett Tomko has been a disaster. Bringing back Elmer Dessens has been a semi-disaster. Bringing back Gio Carrara has been a semi-disaster.

Signing a sure fire Hall of Famer, Jeff Kent, to a two year contract when he was 38, was risking having a player ready to break down. Jeff Kent broke down.

Signing a great player prone to chronic injuries was a risk.

And sure enough Nomar Garciaparra has missed plenty of games and played lots of others at less than his in-the-20s prime.

GM Ned Colletti has tried. You have to give him credit for that. He did come up a pair of Aces with Greg Maddux and Marlon Anderson. He drew a face card with backup catcher Toby Hall, although he has had no place to use him.

But a lot of the other cards he drew or paid for have come up no help.

Last week of the season starts NOW.

Can the Dodgers throw out a starter healthy with a chance to win every day of the last week? No, they can not.

Can they start a healthy player at first and second who also bat third and fourth in the lineup every day. No, they can not.

Do they have to give Penny another start. Yes they do.

The Dodgers are playing on their heels instead of on their toes.

Inexorably, the Dodgers are sliding back to .500. That's so-so baseball. That is not winning baseball.

Should a $100 million player budget buy more than a .500 effort. It sure as heck should.

This season is turning out to be a first class disappointment. Paul DePodesta and Jim Tracy -- remember them? -- could have produced this kind of result. They did. They were bounced. The Dodgers brought in a new team and expected better. They did not get it.

Remember the team owners guaranteed pledge to return the Dodgers to respectability and quickly. It has not happened yet.

The highlight of the week was Tommy Lasorda turning 79 years young.

Maybe the Dodgers should pull a Bill Veeck trick out of the hat, activate Lasorda and use him as an Eddy Gaedel pinchhitter (he was the midget Veeck used until baseball made him stop doing so).

The thing that is so, so disappointing about the 2006 Dodgers is they had the division in the bag and let it get away. When it counted, they did not deliver. With the season on the line, the missed the mark.

They faded and faded badly.

Everybody has excuses. The Florida Marlins had the excuse they only had a $15 million budget. The Detroit Tigers had an excuse.

They couldn't be expected to come all the way back from baseball limbo in a single season.

The Philadelphia Phillies, now ahead of the Dodgers in the wild card berth, had an excuse. They gave up their franchise player for chump change after the All Star break for peanuts. These teams did not choke.

Does this mean we think the Dodgers choked? Emphatically yes.