Friday, July 22, 2005

LaRussa vs. Dusty - Take 1

This game shows you why LaRussa is one of the best managers in the game today and why Dusty is not. I know that any armchair manager can second guess most of Dusty's asinine decisions, but Captain Toothpick got his ass handed to him tonight. This was an absolute must win game, one that could have set the tone for this three game set. Big Z came through with a dominant game on the mound and at the plate. Carpenter was good, but the Cubs managed 8 hits against him even scoring a run in the 3rd on only 1 hit. So with the game in doubt and in extra frames, who does Dusty call on from the pen...

Rusch, who's been struggling since his demotion from the starting rotation and Mitre, who's been somewhere between awful & terrible since his two sterling starts in the first half of June.

Who does "the Genius" use...

Izzy, King, & Reyes.

Here we have a game where other than the 1st inning solo HR, the Cards didn't get a runner past 1B until the leadoff 11th inning triple by Mabry. So what does "the Genius" do in this critical situation...

First he pinch runs for Mabry to get some decent wheels on 3B. Then after a ground out, he calls for the suicide squeeze, which is perfectly executed by "Mini-Me" Eckstein. Game over, Cards win.

Now the Dusty supporters can come in and make excuses, e.g. "he can't hit for the players". The sad truth is that both Dusty and LaRussa realized how important this game was, but only one of them managed it like was. This is eerily similar to 2003 NLCS when Dusty kept running out Veres and Guthrie for important innings and Jack McKeon trotted out Pavano and Beckett.

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