In a Money Game, Cream Rises to The Top

Money game. Must game. Few if any tomorrows. No excuses. The future is NOW. Up stepped the Dodgers pitching ace. Chad Billingsley. Six shutout innings. A passel of strikeouts. Dominating. The bullpen finished, not as strong but good enough. Up stepped The Manny Ramirez. Five RBI. The Dodgers lead. The Dodgers lead. The Dodgers lead.

If the old Giant announcer Russ Hodges were still around, you could just hear him repeat the phrase The Dodgers Lead!

No need for Joe Torre to think, to make a mistake (although he was quick enough to get Billingsley out of the game). No need to ask Mark Sweeney to do what he hasn't all year, i.e., get a hit.

No crazy impulse to put Andrew Jones in as a defensive outfielder (he wisely went to Jason Repko instead).

Following the September kid, Derek Lowe, Billingsley was if anything even better. Perhaps inspired by Andre Ethier's five hits the previous night, Ramirez got RBI five of his own to remind everybody just who was THE hitter in the lineup.

The pre-series headlines were "Razorbacks Look To Put Dodgers Away". Yeh, sure. The Dodgers, it might be noted, were at home where the record showed they could win, as opposed to the road, where the same record says they can't.

Game three was originally supposed to be two aging wonders, Randy Johnson vs Greg Maddux. That isn't happening. Instead its the Dodgers phenom Clayton Kershaw against a kid pitcher with even less big league experience than Kershaw.

Nobody knows who might be the Dodgers hero or heroes in the final game of the set, or if there will even be a sweep, but it sure is nice to contemplate.

GM Ned Colletti is probably breathing a sigh of relief with the improbable streaky Dodgers rebounding from a horrible road trip with a more than modest winning streak to get back over .500. His job is riding on this game and the next two weeks.

Joe Torre does not hyperventilate -- ever. But he had to be thinking his winter home in Hawaii was looking better and better each passing day.

The Dodgers used YouthandAge, ie, the gas efficient power of the young Billingsley and the old fashioned Humvee power of Ramirez. A dandy duo this day. When the cream rises to the top, GMs, field managers, owners and, yea verily, even the fans, can breath a little easier.

Tommy Lasorda, back in 1988, nicknamed Orel Hershiser "bulldog" to great effect. (All his nicknames didn't work as he once nicknamed one Franklin Stubbs "Cadillac". Stubbs soon was back in his native Detroit selling used Cadillacs on used car lots).

In the contemporary milieu, perhaps we might think of, excuse us Mrs. Palin, either Pit Bull or Barracuda for Mr. Billingsley. While Mrs. Palin can't get on the Oprah Winfrey TV show, a couple of more games like last nights might get Mr. Ramirez a guest shot.