Dodgers address brushback pitches
Game 4 starter Lowe: 'You have to stand up for yourself'
LOS ANGELES -- The clubhouse grumbling about Philadelphia's Game 2 bully tactics and the Dodgers' weak response was addressed before Sunday's Game 3 of the National League Championship Series by scheduled Game 4 starter Derek Lowe and manager Joe Torre.
Phillies starter Brett Myers set the tone in the first inning Friday night by throwing under the chin of Russell Martin, then behind the head of Manny Ramirez. Dodgers pitcher Chad Billingsley said he tried to throw inside on Phillies hitters, "not to retaliate, but to make them uncomfortable," but his command wasn't sharp enough.
"Nuke LaLoosh style, Major League guy, yeah, that was definitely a unique situation," Lowe said. "I think in hindsight, I think everybody, especially probably on our team, wished it would have been handled differently. I think any time, not only did Manny get brushed back but Russell did kind of, too. I think there's nothing wrong with that. But I think, again, you don't want to sit up here and say you're going to hit people. But I think there was definitely a situation where you could have maybe done the same thing back.
"And it's been talked about a lot over the last two days, and the one thing you don't want to do is feel like you're getting pushed around, with the other team thinking they can do whatever they want and you're not really going to stand up for yourself. And it seemed like for those few innings, it seemed like that's what they did. Now, did that translate into them scoring all those runs? I don't know. But the bottom line is you can't allow them to dictate -- pretty much let them do whatever they want. You have to stand up for yourself."
Torre said he spoke to Billingsley about "pitching to both sides of the plate. Chad, everything was away, away, away and he paid a price for it."
Torre said it wasn't about intimidation or retaliation. It was about establishing the outside part of the plate by showing a willingness to throw inside and keep opposing hitters honest. He cited a well-known pitcher Torre often caught.
"People remember Bob Gibson and they say he pitched inside," Torre said. "Really, he pitched away. But he made you conscious [inside] because he didn't want you diving over the plate. It's sketchy sometimes, the way umpires make more of it. It's the way the game has changed."
When asked specifically about a pitcher protecting his hitters, Torre said, "We're all in this thing together. We're a team and we have to make sure we're there for each other."
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.