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The Sultans of Saywhat?
2003-08-04 08:30
by Jon Weisman

Three things I'd write about at length if I had more time at the start of this new week:

  • Jack Clark is fired.

    What I can say quickly: This was just too easy of a call, especially with Clark essentially saying to the press in recent days that he had done all he could do for the offense. Say all you want about the Dodgers not having the talent at the plate, but Clark did as little with that talent as anyone possibly could.

    What I'd explore if I had more time: Clark's interim replacement, George Hendrick, and what comes after the interim.

  • Scott Mullen gets the Sunday start for the Dodgers.

    What I can say quickly: This is the most embarrassing on-field decision by the Dodgers in my memory, and the fact that the Dodgers got away with it just goes to show you, baseball is quite the entertaining game.

    Let's put aside for the moment this pitching-rich team getting caught with its pants down when, after Hideo Nomo's Friday start was cut short by rain and Kazuhisa Ishii went on the disabled list Saturday, it did not have one of its better pitching prospects ready to make the emergency start.

    The Dodgers bring up Mullen, a castoff (acquired in exchange for the Castoff Prom King, Gookie Dawkins) from the pitching-poor Kansas City Royals. He has an ERA of over 16, and they decide to start him against the offensive onslaught that is the Atlanta Braves.

    The very real possibility, which Mullen nearly fulfilled, was that he wouldn't make it past the first inning. If that had happened, the Dodgers would have been ripping through its bullpen in a blowout loss, redefining the word "demoralizing." By the end of the game, it would have been even money on Jolbert Cabrera finishing the game on the mound.

    Why wouldn't you start Guillermo Mota - or any of the Dodgers' talented relievers, for that matter - and see how far you get with the best? With five relievers, including a rested Eric Gagne, the Dodgers should have been able to go most (if not all) of the game - picking the best spot for Mullen to enter if necessary. If the Dodgers fell behind, only then it would make sense to bring in Mullen, by definition the worst pitcher on the team.

    What I'd explore if I had more time: Whether Mullen posed any particular matchup problems for the Braves that I'm not aware of.

  • Dan Evans defends himself to the Times.

    What I can say quickly: If only people were more thoughtful.

    On Sunday, T.J. Simers unleashed his most intense criticism of the Dodger general manager to date. If Simers were more interested more than just getting a reaction, he might have made a convincing argument. Instead, he cited every bad move made by Evans without giving him any credit for the good ones - Hideo Nomo, Paul Quantrill just for starters. Simers really was made for talk radio.

    Today, Evans responded in an interview with Jason Reid of the Times that laid out the all-too-true limitations he's been faced with. Unfortunately, moves like acquiring over-the-hill (and through-the-woods) Robin Ventura for the leadership he brings to the clubhouse - on a team with more old-school ballplayers than ESPN Classic can show in a day - undermines the faith one might have in Evans. Dan, think about it - it doesn't help a talent-deficient team to bring in even one talent-deficient player.

    What I'd explore if I had more time: More analysis of Evans' performance, along the lines of this entry.

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