10/10/2004 8:38 PM ET
Notes: Perez to follow Lima's lead
Southpaw looks to put in place winning plan in Game 4
By Ken Gurnick / MLB.com
LOS ANGELES -- Hours before Sunday night's Game 4, the Dodgers were still trying to comprehend what Jose Lima did in Game 3 and wondering if Odalis Perez could do anything like it.
|Manager Jim Tracy hopes Odalis Perez is more aggressive in Sunday's Game 4. (L.G. Patterson/AP)
Lima, who is in celebration mode over such events as the sun rising, was already preparing for his next role.
"My responsibility is bigger tonight," the right-hander said. "I have to be a cheerleader. I have to keep the energy up from last night."
Lima remained the center of attention, fielding questions about his possible free agency -- he earned $1.275 million this year with an incentive-laden minor league contract and wants several years guaranteed -- to how his act plays among teammates.
Lima was outspoken in postgame comments about why he succeeded and Perez and Jeff Weaver failed in Games 1 and 2, citing the Cardinals' bottom of the order, deep counts and two-out hits as the keys, raising the eyebrows of teammates.
"I'm not showing anybody up," said Lima. "These are my teammates. We've been through everything together. You'll see me cheering tonight. They are my brothers."
Here's the way one teammate views Lima and his sometimes-outlandish antics.
"He's ridiculous, but he's consistent," said Jayson Werth. "He's all over the place, but he's all over the place all the time. That's just the guy, and I love it."
Here's Weaver's take on a possible start in Game 5: "I relish the opportunity. You know, I felt like I had a good game plan last time and hopefully the results are a little bit better. But I'm going to go after the guys with pretty much the same approach as I had last time."
Perez's second chance: Manager Jim Tracy was hoping Perez would look more like Lima and less like the Perez that pitched in Game 1 in St. Louis.
"You hope he's aggressive, throwing strikes early in the count, attacking hitters," said Tracy. "Odalis Perez is completely capable of doing just that. In St. Louis, he was pretty much the opposite. He was behind in the counts, and his sequences went awry."
Perez was throwing the wrong pitches in the wrong counts, as Tracy saw it, allowing Cardinals hitters to sit on hittable pitches. The result was a 2 2/3-inning start.
Brent Mayne was again behind the plate on Sunday, as he was on Tuesday. However, Tracy said there is only so much a catcher can do in dictating pitch sequence. Mayne agreed.
"He's got to throw the pitch," said Mayne. "I'd rather he throw what he wants with conviction than [throw] a better pitch without being mentally behind it. If he makes a good pitch, even the wrong pitch in the right spot will work."
Tracy agreed that Perez's tempo was out of whack in St. Louis but was confident that Mayne would handle him well. Nonetheless, Tracy said Perez will be on a short leash on Sunday.
"In a game like [Sunday], he has to have it or he won't be out there very long," said Tracy. "We won't sit around."
But Tracy said the club was confident it could score runs off St. Louis starter Jeff Suppan, the Cardinals' fourth starter.
Managers, friends: Here's what Tracy says about Cardinals manager Tony La Russa:
"When you respect people like that, you like to think that the relationship is mutual. He's just been a terrific person to me. He's introduced me to people, like Bobby Knight. He's class represented to the 'nth' degree. He's a pro."
La Russa on Tracy:
"The most important thing you do during the game, put the guys in the right situations for them to play. It's a players' game. And I see Jim runs an outstanding game. The other thing you do is, before the game, you create an atmosphere where the guys get ready to play and they care about the outcome. And I think ever since the first day he showed up here, they've been very competitive. They had a couple tough losses late in the season this year, and they pulled it off. I think he's very complete as a manager."
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.