"I only talked to them three or four times this year, for 10 minutes total," he said with a towel draped around his neck and alcohol dripping from his face. "I reminded them how good it felt to beat Chicago in this round last year, and how tough it was to lose to Philadelphia in the next round. I said, don't let it overwhelm you, don't let it consume you. But remember it."
How well they've learned their lessons from last year's five-game defeat at the hands of the eventual World Series champions won't be determined until their after the National League Championship Series is over, but in sweeping the Cardinals in the Division Series, the Dodgers showed that they remembered well what it was like to succeed in the postseason, and their sweep of the Cardinals had traces of the same formula they used to rout the Cubs in three games a year ago.
There was another emerging star from their core of homegrown talent --
In particular, Colletti cited the efforts of
Rizzi also suggested the Dodgers acquire
Then there was Padilla, another Rizzi find who was perhaps the riskies move of the bunch. Released in August by the Rangers -- who had grown so tired of his mediocre pitching and personality differences that they had put him on waivers in June -- the Dodgers took a chance on Padilla as their lead in the NL West started melting away. Mindful of the criticisms that had followed him out the door in Texas, where one story in the local press said "the move stems from Padilla not being a good teammate or role model for young players and from his lack of a positive attitude in the clubhouse," Coletti sat him down and told him just what would be expected of him. "I said, this is a fresh start. You'll write the next chapter.
Padilla also authored a fitting conclusion to the stunningly one-sided series on Saturday with what was by far his best start of the season. After escaping a bases-loaded jam in the first inning, he retired 16 of the next 17 hitters and never again had more than one runner on base at a time. It was the first time this year he had pitched at least seven innings without giving up a single run. He also kept the Dodgers from having to send a struggling
Padilla's performance stood in start contrast to that of
Pineiro wasn't alone in his struggles. The Cards offense managed only six runs and went 5-for-31 with runners in scoring position.
Even more frustrating for manager
On Saturday evening, with the clubhouse quiet and the last bottle of alcohol finally drained, Loney was being asked again about his quick-thinking decision to cut off
Before Loney could answer, teammates