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Down The Line

September 10, 2006|Tim Brown

Four Days in ... L.A.

Starting in the ninth inning at Petco Park on April 30, the Padres have outscored the Dodgers, 73-32, and yet, somehow, the Dodgers have not lost every game to them since. They have, however, lost 11 of their last 12 to the Padres, not including the end-of-August contest for David Wells, which would make it 12 of 13. Wells is 1-1 with a 7.04 earned-run average in three starts against the Dodgers, all in 2004, the year of "Boomer Comes Home I."

Some numbers to ponder from the first 14 games of the season series, during which the Dodgers' team batting average, .205, and team ERA, 4.96, share equal culpability: Andre Ethier .229, Nomar Garciaparra .209, Kenny Lofton .146, J.D. Drew .114, Brad Penny 9.00.

Grady Little might want to reconsider Brett Tomko's place in the bullpen, at least for a weekend, even if it's only 60 pitches' worth. In four appearances, two of them starts, against the Padres, Tomko is 1-0 with a 1.13 ERA.

Against the Dodgers: Jake Peavy (2-0, 1.29 ERA), Woody Williams (1-0, 2.57 ERA) and Trevor Hoffman (five saves, 0.00 ERA), Mike Cameron (.317), Dave Roberts (six steals).

The probables: Friday -- Wells vs. Greg Maddux; Saturday -- Williams vs. Chad Billingsley; Sunday -- Chris Young vs. Derek Lowe; Monday -- Peavy vs. Penny.

Joe Loves Darin

You go years believing that even if Darin Erstad hit .220, you'd still want him in your lineup every day. Then he hits .220 and, you must admit, it's not easy to watch, even over 100 or so plate appearances, even when he's carrying a Gold Glove.

But, Erstad is a young man, 32, and can't possibly stay hurt forever, and if the Angels don't want him, there's a manager out there who'd gladly have him. Talking him into the Bronx might be a challenge, but Joe Torre adores Darin Erstad.

"He's a special player," Torre said. "You certainly miss a guy like that, because he takes on so many roles."

Bats and Pieces

Longtime player agent Alan Meersand, who lost his wife unexpectedly this summer at 48, has set up the Pamela Meersand Scholarship Fund at Mira Costa High in Manhattan Beach. Pamela also is survived by twin 12-year-old boys and an 18-year-old daughter.

The Mariners are undecided on whether to bring Mike Hargrove back for another season. The administration appears to be leaning toward retaining him, but the administration -- GM Bill Bavasi -- may not last the winter, either.... Other potential managerial openings: Cleveland, Kansas City, Toronto, Baltimore, San Francisco, Milwaukee, Chicago Cubs, Florida, Washington.

Rangers owner Tom Hicks seems content with two-time manager of the year Buck Showalter, on Dallas-area radio this week laying responsibility for another so-so season on the players. Sort of. On Showalter: "He grinds pretty good, and I think that's why he's successful. But coaches in any sport with that style sometimes run their course with certain players. But we might want to change players rather than change managers."

Although the Blue Jays are trying to find ways to afford him, center fielder Vernon Wells would be a popular free agent next winter, and teams already are lining up to ply the Blue Jays with offers. He'd fit with the Angels.... Adrian Beltre struck out four times Monday while batting third, then hit eighth -- eighth! -- Tuesday and Wednesday. He went into Friday's game in an 0-for-19 slump, assuring himself a second disappointing season in Seattle.

One More Thing From ... Billy Beane

The A's GM on team leadership: "The best leadership I've ever seen is where hitters get hits and pitchers win games. If leadership was that important, I'd hire Norman Schwarzkopf to be my fifth starter."

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