10/06/2004 6:43 PM ET
Notes: Looking for a comeback
Club hopes to keep winning with their backs to the wall
By Ken Gurnick / MLB.com
ST. LOUIS -- It's not as if the Dodgers feel they have the Cardinals right where they want them, but when you come from behind 53 times during the regular season, they don't know any better but to believe that anything's possible.
Shawn Green's laid-back approach pretty well reflected the day-after attitude in the Dodgers clubhouse as they geared up for Game 2 and a chance to tie the National League Division Series.
"They played a great game and we've got to win tomorrow," Green said. "It wouldn't be exciting if we didn't make it tough. I wouldn't expect anything less. When our backs are to the wall, we play our best. We've just got to do a better job all around. We have to hold them early and get our rallies going."
Press row: Dodger outfielder Milton Bradley, who returned from suspension to play in Tuesday's Game 1 of the National League Division Series, was involved in a clubhouse dispute with Los Angeles Times reporter Jason Reid following Wednesday's workout at Busch Stadium.
|Tom Wilson gets high-fives in the dugout after his ninth-inning homer Tuesday. (Jon SooHoo/Dodgers)
Bradley took offense to a Reid question about dealing with St. Louis fans and a verbal exchange ensued, during which Bradley called Reid "an Uncle Tom." Both Bradley and Reid are African-American.
As Bradley walked away from his locker, Reid attempted to follow him and was intercepted by players, coaches and a team official.
"Ultimately, this is an issue that needs to be settled between the two individuals and we will work with them toward that end," said Dodgers executive vice president Lou Rosen in statement released Wednesday night.
The Times also issued a statement from sports editor Bill Dwyre: "We are terribly unhappy with how and why this happened. We back our reporter from every angle of this. We also agree with the Dodgers in the sense that this is something that can be and will be worked out between these two people."
Bradley missed the end of the regular season while serving a five-game suspension for an incident in a Sept. 28 game at Dodger Stadium, when he angrily confronted fans after a plastic beer bottle was thrown at his feet.
Pitching revisited: In reviewing what went wrong for Odalis Perez on Tuesday, the prevailing opinion is that his pitch selection and sequence played into the strengths of the Cardinals hitters.
They were sitting on Perez's offspeed pitches because that's what he uses to escape trouble.
"Bad pitch sequence and poor pitch location," said pitching coach Jim Colborn. "I have a lot of confidence in Odalis. The way I look at it, whatever we do here is an education for the future. Success will add confidence, failure is education. I hope we learn to be better in the future."
Colborn said he is confident Game 2 starter Jeff Weaver will not be intimidated by the occasion or the opposition.
"All of these guys had better get used to pitching in this kind of game, because they'll have a lot of them the next five to 10 years," Colborn said. "It's great trial by fire."
Catchers roulette: Brent Mayne started Game 1, Tom Wilson hit a homer and David Ross will start Game 2 as manager Jim Tracy mixes and matches his three-catcher platoon.
"The comfort level is vital and necessary between a pitcher and catcher because it can affect the outcome of a game," said Tracy, explaining why he's willing to sacrifice the offense that Wilson could provide for the familiarity Ross has with Weaver. "I see things click between David and Weave."
Mayne, however, has become the primary catcher for Odalis Perez and Jose Lima, having caught Lima last year in Kansas City.
Wilson, called by Tracy "a legitimate bat," found Tuesday to be wildly typical of his entire season. He came to the park not knowing if he would even be on the postseason roster and wound up hitting a home run in a playoff game with two out in the ninth inning.
He was released by San Diego in Spring Training, signed to a minor league contract by Oakland in April, released again and signed to a minor league contract by the Mets, called up to New York three times, then acquired by the Dodgers in an Aug. 16 trade for catcher Tony Socarras.
"If I had a decent Spring Training I wouldn't be here right now, so something good came of it," he said.
Wilson is known for an awkward batting stance that he explains provides a moment of relaxation before he shifts into a more normal positioning as the ball approaches.
"When the ball reaches the hitting zone, I'm pretty much like everyone else," he said. "It's just my starting point is jacked up. I did it because I was having trouble with pitches in. It's just a trigger mechanism for me. I've taken a lot of grief for it in the three years I've been doing it, but it works for me."
Medical update: Jayson Werth, who felt an elbow twinge on a throw home in Game 1, said it responded well to treatment and he was able to play catch during Wednesday's workout.
"I think it's OK, not bad at all," said Werth, who doubled in a run. "I should be fine for tomorrow. It's been sore for the last month, but in the back of the elbow. That's why I wear a sleeve. This time it was on the inside. But I really think it will be OK."
However, Duaner Sanchez was sent back to the hotel with a bad head cold and did not participate in the workout. Sanchez, a rookie who emerged as a key part of the bullpen for the entire season, pitched 1 2/3 scoreless innings Tuesday with three strikeouts.
The day off therefore helped the Dodgers bullpen, which would have been a man short after five members were needed to pitch 5 1/3 innings Tuesday.
Playoff atmosphere: The Dodgers kept saying that the weekend series in San Francisco would be good experience to prepare for what they might encounter in the playoffs.
In a way, they were wrong. The Cardinals fans, generally considered among the best in baseball, are loud, but knowledgeable and appreciative, even of the opposition.
"Actually, the fans here are more mellow than San Francisco," said Mayne. "I wasn't sure what to expect, but from the beginning there was nothing bad. Nothing like San Francisco."
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.