they're a win away . . . . .
la russa continues to amaze me. bottom 8th, jose valentin at the plate with the tying runs on base. flores was already in the game, and seemingly the right guy to pitch to valentin, who has always been helpless vs left-handed pitchers. this season he's got a .644 OPS vs lhp, but an .879 OPS vs rhp; over the last 3 years combined he's got a .676 OPS vs lefties, but an .817 OPS vs righties. and with the left-handed chavez on deck and another lefty, cliff floyd, waiting to pinch-hit for the pitcher, you'd seemingly want a left-hander all the way down the line.
so what does la russa do? he removes the left-handed flores and brings in a right-hander, wainwright --- seemingly playing into valentin's hands. why in god's name? . . . . the curveball, apparently. the scouting reports must have said that valentin can't handle a hook, because that's what wainwright fed him -- a 1st-pitch fastball for strike 1, then 4 curves in 5 pitches. valentin swung through one, took another for strike 3.
fun game to watch, great win. they can win the pennant tomorrow.