Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Amaro, Phillies Smart Handling Business, But Dodgers' Bungles Prove Costly

On another bone-chilling night, in the last of the ninth inning, the Phillies still preserved the biggest hit. A shot on a night that dictated the Dodgers' season.

If there’s a veteran the Phillies can depend on, Jimmy Rollins is the name to single out.

The unexpected heroics turned a tense moment into another celebration in the stands, with only a game remaining before the Phillies make their second consecutive appearance to the biggest stage.

The late heroics Monday night smeared the Dodgers’ favorable outcome. It seemed to be a sure victory for Los Angeles until momentum shifted, confidence plunged, and body language appeared sluggish. But it was mostly momentum and the well-experienced veterans handling desperation and crucial moments in the game.

It is important to have a clutch hitter in the lineup, especially a veteran stepping up in moments when a critical shot into the gap is needed. Jimmy Rollins laced a two-run, scoring double off hard-throwing closer Jonathan Broxton, to put a stranglehold on the Dodgers.

Meanwhile, Rollins gave the Phillies cushion, and secured belief in a team aiming for their second straight title. A dramatic 5-4 victory over the lowly Dodgers describes fortitude of defending champions.

Besides characterizing champs, it identifies the shrewdest club in baseball. Last night illustrated and unleashed the true colors of the Dodgers' postseason failures, just as it delivered facts about the Phillies.

I'm not saying the Dodgers are unintelligent, but it is moderate admitting that general manager Ned Colletti has failed the organization in his fourth season serving as team executive. Although he was unsuccessful during the trade deadline, owner Frank McCourt is loyal to the so-called genius when he desperately acquired Manny Ramirez.

Of course, it made Colletti seem as if he was the cleverest general manager in baseball. Back then, Ramirez was portrayed as the purist slugger in the game, before getting humiliated for shamefully storing a fertility drug that produced artificial testosterones, which banned the inglorious juicer for 50 games.

Perhaps the Mannywood campaign is a great marketing product, but the bad thing is, the Dodgers have a no-good fraud that hasn’t done much.

Fans are too naïve to garner the truth and take advantage of the discount seating in the Mannywood section.

But instead of the long negotiating that took forever during the offseason, McCourt and Colletti should’ve tried adding veteran pitching to strengthen the paltry rotation. In the midst of their offseason shopping, the Dodgers were more comfortable appeasing and compromising with the manipulator Scott Boras and his deceptive client Ramirez.

Granted, Colletti made relevant transitions and upgrades, with his midseason acquisitions in the past two seasons, which included Casey Blake, Greg Maddux, George Sherrill, Jon Garland, Vicente Padilla, and Jim Thome. From the list, he had sense enough to acquire four pitchers, but, still, none are strikeout pitchers.

So that’s why the Phillies are lasting longer in the postseason, and could incredibly win it back-to-back. Between the Yankees and Philadelphia, they won the offseason or midseason sweepstakes, overwhelming us with their assertive pursuits to build a noteworthy franchise leading into October.

Right now, it seems the rookie leads. Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro is the smartest in baseball, outsmarting other executives who’re afraid to spend valuable profit.

He doesn’t mind granting enormous investments to players, and expects a lot from the well-experienced club.

Before the trade deadline, Los Angeles had ample chance to acquire the best pitcher in the postseason, Cliff Lee. Imagine if he was available to shut down the Phillies with a wicked breaking ball, or if he had a 0.72 ERA with more hard-throwing strikeouts than any pitcher, currently.

Simply, the Dodgers missed out during the deadline, when they were listening to offers and considering acquiring the greatest pitcher in the game today, Roy Halladay, but allowed the offer to vanish without attempting to negotiate and deal some of their young prospects to reinforce unreliable pitching.

But the big-name ace they can utilize right now is Lee or Pedro Martinez. Fact is, the Dodgers need a strikeout pitcher to stay alive with opponents, all having indomitable aces who control momentum. Truth is, Amaro accomplished good results in his first year, a savviest sequence that average general managers cannot master as a rookie.

At 44, Amaro imprinted a stout legacy, bringing aboard unfamiliar faces but enough talent to keep the Phillies crisp.

Immediately, it was good to overhaul and keep potentiality of winning multiple titles intact, signing free agent pitcher Chan Ho Park, who has thrown effectively against the Dodgers, and left fielder Raul Ibanez, who started off the season by seeing the ball well.

Above all, Amaro ensured emphasis of building a future around the growing legend Cole Hamels and streaky hitter Ryan Howard, whose home runs are hotter than a Philly cheese steak, giving each of them multi-year contracts. I must say, $5 foot-longs at Subway are worth eating as long as it is legal for enhancing the performance level.

Aside from Howard’s enhanced diet, Amaro assembled depth when he pulled off the blockbuster deal of the year, which should earn him Manager of the Year. Somehow prices weren’t steep, keeping all pitching prospects at home, while stealing and landing left-hander Lee, who was acquired for nothing from Cleveland.

The upgrading has proved worthy. When the Phillies spent 141 days in first place, including 126 consecutive days since late May. And now has extended their dominant postseason streak, topping each opponent without facing legitimate challenges for unhittable pitching, as the Dodgers aren’t perennial contenders.

It’s hard not having a dependable ace to bail you out. But for the Phillies it’s a fairly easier task, only because management was smarter.