In advance of going out to the stadium tonight, I decided to look at how Eric Gagne has done in the week since the Dodgers traded his bullpen setup man, Guillermo Mota. Looks to me like the fears expressed after the trade — that Gagne might become overworked and lose his dominance — are worth some attention. It's still early, but there are signs.
In the past 2½ seasons, Gagne only faced as many as 10 batters in a game once. This week he has done it twice. In a week without Mota he has faced 30 batters and let 11 get on base (6 scored). He only struck out 7 of the 30. In July, for contrast, he struck out half the 54 batters he faced, and let only eight get on base all month. Doesn't mean he's tanked, just that the Dodgers need to be careful with him. Alas, last night's loss, his first in a year, also means that I probably won't be seeing him tonight. Blogger 6-4-2 is more worried: "This is the penalty for tossing out Mota. Gagné under little rest is going to get worse..."
Back to non-sports programming...
* Not so fast: Jim Tracy used Gagne again, to better effect:
2 batters 1 batter, 3 pitches, save number 33. Dodgers win 6-3 playing Moneyball (11 walks), move 6½ ahead. Amusing aside: ESPN must be outsourcing game play-by-play to Bangalore; Gagne's first out is credited to "fielder's indifference." Note to self—pay more attention: As a commenter notes, Gagne faced just one batter, got him out. During the at-bat, a Phillie stole second without a throw, hence "fielder's indifference" was the right call. Sunday's game was weird: the Dodgers' new starter Brad Penny strained his arm on his 14th pitch and came out in the first inning, and in the third the Phillies' David Bell hit a grounder and never got out of the batter's box because of back spasms. Dodgers lose 4-1, hold at a 6½-game lead.