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Is Lowe getting enough rest?

October 13, 2008|Dylan Hernandez | Times Staff Writer

The last time Joe Torre used a pitcher on three days' rest in the playoffs, he sent Chien-Ming Wang to the mound for Game 4 of the 2007 American League division series. Wang was pounded by the Cleveland Indians for four runs in the first two innings, setting the stage for the Yankees' elimination from the postseason and Torre's exit from New York.

Though Derek Lowe is a sinkerball pitcher like Wang, Torre said he has no worries about how he will respond today when he pitches for the Dodgers in Game 4 of the National League Championship Series.

"A lot of it is a mind-set on the part of the pitcher," Torre said. "He's pitched on the big stage before at just about every level of the postseason. I don't think he's going to overthink the situation."

Torre said he was also prepared to use Lowe on short rest for Game 4 of the NL division series against Chicago, but the Dodgers swept the Cubs in three games, making that unnecessary.

Lowe, who gave up three runs on a pair of home runs in the Dodgers' Game 1 loss, said he isn't thinking about his impending free agency when he takes the mound.

Lowe acknowledged that pitching the three clinching games during the Boston Red Sox's 2004 World Series run enhanced his value on the open market. He signed a four-year, $36-million deal with the Dodgers that winter.

"This year, it's been a lot different," Lowe said, pointing to his regular-season earned-run averages of 5.42 in 2004 and 3.42 this season. "I think I learned a lot in '04 as far as not putting so much pressure on yourself just for one year."

Kent kept on the bench

Though Torre had 35-year-old Nomar Garciaparra in the Game 3 lineup, he said he didn't consider starting 40-year-old Jeff Kent. Kent's defensive limitations made him a less-than-ideal candidate to play second base with ground-ball pitcher Hiroki Kuroda on the mound.

Kent entered Game 2 as a defensive replacement in the third inning and played the remainder of the game. He said his surgically repaired knee could withstand nine innings of work if necessary.

"I just play," he said. "That's all I know how to do -- play."

Kent pinch-hit in the eighth inning Sunday and struck out.

Surgery for Proctor

Reliever Scott Proctor, who didn't make the division series or NLCS rosters, will have minor surgery on his elbow Wednesday. Proctor, who had a 6.05 ERA in 41 games, will have a partially torn flexor tendon repaired and a spur on the back of his elbow shaved. He is expected to be ready for the start of spring training.

Proctor, 31, earned $1.15 million this season and will be eligible for arbitration this winter.

Short hops

The famed Dodgers infield of the 1970s -- Steve Garvey, Davey Lopes, Bill Russell and Ron Cey -- reunited to throw out ceremonial first pitches. Catching them were the Dodgers' starting infield for Game 3 -- Garciaparra, Blake DeWitt, Rafael Furcal and Casey Blake. . . . Takashi Saito threw fastballs, sliders and curveballs in a 45-pitch bullpen session. . . . James McDonald, who pitched 3 1/3 shutout innings in Game 2, was unavailable out of the bullpen. . . . Jason Schmidt, who was rehabilitating his shoulder in Arizona, rejoined the team.




On the air: TV -- Channel 11 Radio -- 790, 930.

Update: With the Dodgers needing another win to get the series back to Philadelphia, they'll go with Derek Lowe on short rest today, which would also set him up to pitch Game 7 -- if there is one -- on four days' rest in Philadelphia. A former reliever, Lowe was successful pitching on as little as two days' rest in the playoffs during his time with Boston. He made two mistakes in the NLCS opener, and Chase Utley and Pat Burrell made him pay for both, hitting sixth-inning homers to give the Phillies a 3-2 win, handing the right-hander his first postseason loss in five years and his first loss to the Phillies since 2001. Joe Blanton, acquired from Oakland in midseason, won the clinching game against Milwaukee in the division series, holding the Brewers to a run over six innings. He has started twice against L.A. this season, giving up five earned runs in 11 innings but leaving without a decision both times. He'll have to be careful with Manny Ramirez, who is hitting .560 with a homer and eight RBIs in 25 at-bats against him lifetime.

-- Kevin Baxter


Dodgers vs. Philadelphia

Phillies lead best-of-seven series, 2-1;

all times Pacific; all games on Channel 11.

Game 1: at Phillies 3, Dodgers 2

Game 2: at Phillies 8, Dodgers 5

Game 3: at Dodgers 7, Phillies 2

Game 4: Today, 5:15 p.m.

Philadelphia (Joe Blanton, 4-0, 4.20) at Dodgers (Derek Lowe, 14-11, 3.24)

Game 5: Wednesday at Dodgers, 5:15 p.m.

Game 6*: Friday at Philadelphia, 5:15 p.m.

Game 7*: Saturday at Philadelphia, 5:15 p.m.

*If necessary

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