It is tough, operating within Tony LaRussa’s sphere of influence. TLR is, for better or worse, a legend in the game. His record speaks for itself even if it fails the mention the long list of talent that pushed him to those heights.
Lost in the shuffle of Sunday night’s micromanagement master class by the King of Lawyer Ball is another great performance by Octavio Dotel. Dotel, seemingly thrown into the Colby Rasmus deal as an afterthought, performed impeccably down the stretch as the Cards lunged for the playoff finish line.
Another night, another trip to the hill…another positive outing. I’m as shocked as you are.
As a member of the Toronto Blue Jays, Dotel pitched well enough when used correctly. At this point of his career, the low-slot and lack of a real outpitch makes him incredibly vulnerable to left-handed hitters. It didn’t take long for manager John Farrell to learn that this particular toy only plays well with some of the kids.
Shipped to the Cards, LaRussa and his braintrust knew the book on Dotel. In the month of September, he faced more than twice as many righties as lefties. Dotel rewarded the Cards for their careful deployment of the ROOGY, posting a 16/2 strikeout to walk ratio and surrendering just six runs on seven hits. Give his game log a gander, which starts from the beginning of the Cards’ improbable run to the Wild Card.
|48||Aug 23||LAD||1.0||1||0||0||1||0||4||1||2||0.000||8t — 0 out d11||8t 3 out d11|
|49||Aug 24||LAD||1.0||1||0||0||2||0||4||4||0||0.000||9t — 0 out d6||9t end d 6|
|50||Aug 27||PIT||1.0||0||0||0||1||0||3||2||2||0.000||9t — 0 out d7||9t end d 7|
|51||Sep 1||MIL||2.2||1||0||1||5||0||10||9||1||0.141||4b 12- 1 out a3||6b 3 out a5|
|52||Sep 4||CIN||1.1||0||0||0||1||0||4||3||1||0.229||8t 1-3 2 out tie||9t 3 out tie|
|53||Sep 9||ATL||0.2||1||1||0||0||0||3||0||2||0.007||9t — 0 out d1||9t -2- 2 out d1|
|54||Sep 11||ATL||1.0||0||0||0||0||0||3||1||1||0.024||7t — 0 out a4||7t 3 out a4|
|55||Sep 12||PIT||0.1||0||1||1||1||0||2||3||0||-0.009||8b — 0 out a1||8b 1– 1 out a1|
|56||Sep 14||PIT||0.1||0||0||0||0||0||1||0||0||0.030||8b — 2 out a1||8b 3 out a1|
|57||Sep 16||PHI||0.1||0||0||0||1||0||1||1||0||0.097||8b -2- 2 out a1||8b 3 out a1|
|58||Sep 17||PHI||0.1||2||2||0||0||1||3||0||2||-0.051||8b 123 2 out d2||8b end d 7|
|59||Sep 19||PHI||0.1||0||0||0||0||0||1||1||1||0.093||9b 1– 2 out a1||9b end a 1|
|60||Sep 20||NYM||0.1||0||0||0||1||0||1||0||0||0.070||7t 123 2 out d1||7t 3 out d1|
|61||Sep 22||NYM||1.0||1||1||0||2||0||4||3||0||0.004||8t — 0 out a5||8t 3 out a4|
|62||Sep 24||CHC||1.0||0||0||0||2||0||3||2||0||0.044||8t — 0 out d1||8t 3 out d1|
|63||Sep 25||CHC||0.2||0||0||0||1||0||2||1||0||0.055||8t — 1 out tie||8t 3 out tie|
|64||Sep 26||HOU||1.0||2||1||0||1||0||6||0||2||-0.246||9b — 0 out tie||10b end d 1|
|65||Sep 27||HOU||1.0||0||0||0||1||0||3||3||1||0.006||8b — 0 out a6||8b 3 out a6|
Add two more appearances in the first two games of the NLDS series and you have a nice little tool for TLR to overuse. Dotel even successfully negotiated a pair of lefties last night, getting Shane Victorino to scald a line drive directly at John Jay in center and Raul Ibanez to strike out after a pitched battle.
Trading Colby Rasmus when they did was, very likely, a huge mistake for the future of the Cardinals. Solidifying their bullpen for a (wholly improbable) run to the playoffs with Octavio Dotel and Marc Rzepczynski certainly looks smart today, with the Cards just two wins away from knocking out the mighty Phillies. Living for today is a big part of The Cardinal Way. And livin’ large they are.