Some Dodger veterans would argue with that. Alejandro Pena (11-4, 2.27 ERA) didn't make the All-Star team but should have; his new palmball is the talk of the league. Marshall is producing runs (17 homers, 47 runs batted in) despite being pitched around. A year after suffering a torn rotator cuff, catcher Mike Scioscia is batting .298. And Valenzuela (8-11, 3.07) might be 15-5 if he had received better support.
There's surely no more fascinating baseball dialogue than a Valenzuela-Scioscia conversation in Spanglish.
Scioscia: "Cuidado para the man on second" ("Be careful of the hombre en segunda").
Valenzuela: "Donde tu quieres this pitch?" ("Where do you want esta bola?")
Naturally, Lasorda sees the light at the end of the tunnel. "I used to take out my anxieties on food," he says, "but this year I'm eating less meat and dieting on fruit and salads. I'm more patient this year. I tell you, these kids really impress me. They're like fine diamonds. When you pull one out of the ground, it's black. You have to clean it and shine it. The main thing is, the kids are getting experience and playing time. We'll win. If not this year, then next."