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Appreciating Finley, Alvarez and Carrara
2004-08-17 22:57
by Jon Weisman

  • You've got some serious Paul Lo Duca loyalists operating the Dodger Stadium scoreboard. In the first inning Tuesday, they highlighted his robust statistics with Florida since the trade. Interestingly, though, there was never any mention of Steve Finley's hammerin' numbers in Los Angeles.

    Perhaps they will come Wednesday, after Finley improved to 19 for 42 with six doubles, two home runs, 10 RBI, and averages of .452 batting, .500 on-base, .738 slugging and 1.238 OPS.

  • Part of the beauty of Wilson Alvarez, it became clear to me, is that he doesn't waste any pitches. In escaping from the bases-loaded, none-out jam created within the infield in the seventh inning, he threw only one pitch that was a clear ball. The rest were either in the strike zone, a good mixture of fastballs and changeups, or just outside - pitches designed to tantalize a hitter without allowing him to do serious damage.

    I've fallen in love with the changeup. How can you not adore the sight of an opposing batter lunging at a pitch that hasn't arrived yet? Alvarez has it down, and Giovanni Carrara threw a beauty to strike out Lo Duca in the eighth. Eric Gagne, of course, is a master.

  • With an 18-pitch eighth inning under his belt, Carrara came out to pitch the ninth. He sailed through. Yet when Gagne pitches two innings, people run for the nearest social worker.

    Carrara, among others, has thrown more pitches and more innings than Gagne this month. I completely support the desire to protect Gagne, but this idea that he is this fragile flower needs to be nipped in the, you know, bud.

    Meanwhile, racking up 27 strikeouts against five walks and 22 hits in 28 1/3 innings since returning to Los Angeles, with a 0.95 ERA and only two inherited runners allowed to score, Carrara is finally starting to convince me that he can be counted on. With Darren Dreifort joining pitchers Hideo Nomo, Edwin Jackson, Paul Shuey and Brad Penny on the disabled list (it's starting to become quite a number), Carrara becomes a key member of a bullpen that, believe it or not, retains no members other than Gagne of the 2003 pen that was one of the best in baseball history.

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