Joe Torre is a friendly guy, great with the media, and he stars in hilarious State Farm commercials. He’s also extremely overrated and at least partially responsible for the Dodgers 2-4 start to the season because of bullpen mismanagement. Because a manager doesn’t pitch, run, field, or hit for the players, they shouldn’t be given too much credit for what a team does or doesn’t do. Torre gets tons of credit for his success with the Yankees when every other manager could have sat there and watched those teams win World Series titles. David Wells has even shared the same sentiment that Torre wasn’t anything special. Joe also gets credit for the Dodgers making the NLCS the last two years. Nothing is said about the Dodgers being average his first year until they got Manny. To me, a manager’s job is to put his team in the best position for success. Batting A-Rod 8th in the playoffs and Matt Kemp 7th doesn’t put his team in a good position for success. Neither does what Torre did the first week of the season managing the Dodgers bullpen.
The Dodgers blew a 6-4 lead in the 9th on Saturday night while closer Jonathan Broxton watched from the bullpen. Broxton was unavailable Saturday night because he pitched back-to-back days on Thursday and Friday. Sure, George Sherrill’s an excellent option to close out games and was a stud with the Dodgers last year, but he struggled in spring and there’s really no debate that Broxton’s the team’s number one option to close out games. Sherrill gave up three runs while getting just one out to blow the save (the first run was charged to Ramon Troncoso). Now let’s go back to why Broxton was unavailable on Saturday to close what could have been the Dodgers’ third win of the year.
Broxton worked the 9th in a 10-2 Dodgers blowout on Thursday. Broxton hadn’t pitched since Spring Training because of some mismanagement on Wednesday and that’s why Torre felt the need to pitch him in the blowout. On Friday, the Dodgers led 7-1 in the 9th and Russ Ortiz came on to close out the win for Hiroki Kuroda. Ortiz got one out while loading the bases and Torre pulled him for Broxton. The Dodgers were leading 7-1 at that point and needed just two outs. Broxton got them but that made him unavailable to pitch on Saturday — a game the bullpen blew. True Blue LA also points out that Torre didn’t even use Broxton on Wednesday against the Pirates in a tie game. Instead, he used Troncoso in the 9th and Ramon Ortiz (who blew the game) in the 10th while saving Broxton for a save chance that never came. I’ve never understood the logic behind throwing one of your worst pitchers out there to potentially lose the game while a much better pitcher waits only to close out a potential win. It doesn’t make sense to me and it really burned the Dodgers. This first week of the season for the Dodgers has been an example of classic bullpen mismanagement by Joe Torre.