Last night was inching closer to “Rollerball,” with the Phils and Dodgers urging to exchange blows after some erratic pitches.
The Dodgers claimed this whole mess started with Brett Myers. He was a tad wild in his start Friday, and even threw one way behind Manny Ramirez. Says Ramirez:
“What happened in Philly, we think that wasn’t right. You know we’re here and we want to send a message that we want to play the game right.”
Going back to Friday — not once did Myers elicit wild stares or fury from the Dodgers. And when Myers threw behind Ramirez, what did Manny do? Nothing. Didn’t jaw at him. Didn’t say anything. Didn’t even seem the least bit perturbed.
And yet, now, the Dodgers say they’re unhappy about what happened Friday. And now they have the right to go after the Phils with pitches.
Let me spell it out — the Dodgers are trying to get in the Phillies heads. Phils pitchers are only trying to throw inside — as the scouting says — and sometimes, they’re missing. I don’t think the Phils were aiming for the Dodgers once (although you could say Clay Condrey may have been aiming). The Dodgers knew what they were doing: Mock up some anger, get the crowd behind them, start a scrum, get the Phils off their chain.
Remember, this Phils team is a very business-first team. They don’t bark, they don’t scream, they don’t get crazy. In fact, when they do get crazy (see Myers, Brett), they become wild and play off their game. The Dodgers knew this — they cajoled the Phils into playing LA baseball: scrappy, dirty. And how did the Phils respond? Wild swings. They wanted to bash their brains in — instead, they bashed the smoggy LA air.
The best thing for the Phils to do is completely ignore the talk, and completely disregard any cajoling in game four. They have to play their game. That’s why I like Joe Blanton out there — he seems to be a calming force, the type of guy who just does his job. Hopefully the team sees this and follows suit.