Dodgers' offseason: Lawyers, guns and money

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Thumbnail image for padilla.jpgWhat has been a disconcerting offseason for the Los Angeles Dodgers just got a little bit weirder.

I’m talking Warren Zevon weird.

Things have gone downhill since L.A. was ousted quite easily by the Phillies in the NLCS. There is of course, the ongoing saga of the McCourt divorce, which includes a non-stop stream of he-said, she-said brief filings, and sordid accusations that would make the Gosselins blush.

It’s been so much fun that there is now a new blog devoted to the proceedings called – I kid you not – Dodgerdivorce.com. (What’s next? Jeterdates.com?)

But the menacing cloud swirling around Chavez Ravine got a little more toxic on Tuesday when the news came down that pitcher Vicente Padilla had been shot in the leg.

Details have been sketchy, but it appears Padilla was at a shooting range outside of Managua in his native Nicaragua when he accidentally shot himself.

At least Plaxico Burress was in a dark nightclub with a pistol in his pants when he accidentally wounded himself. You would think Padilla would be a little safer in a controlled environment. Then again, maybe they play things kind of fancy free at Nicaragua gun ranges.

I wouldn’t make light of the incident if Padilla were badly hurt, but as he was hospitalized only 40 minutes before being released “without gravity,” I figure it’s fair game.

Besides, the Dodgers don’t seem too concerned, as GM Ned Colletti said after the incident (through Tweeting L.A. Times writer Dylano Hernandez) that his team is still interested in re-signing Padilla.

I’d suggest L.A. hire a bodyguard to protect the wild-shooting pitcher from himself, but maybe the Dodgers don’t want to go down that road again.

Follow me on Twitter at @bharks. For more baseball news, go to NBCSports.com.

Phillies walk off winners thanks to a poor decision by Marcell Ozuna

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The Phillies’ bullpen, which has not been good as of late, gift-wrapped Monday’s game for the Cardinals. Starter Nick Pivetta was brilliant, fanning 13 while allowing two runs in 7 1/3 innings. But things unraveled after he left the game. Victor Arano took over for Edubray Ramos to start the ninth inning with the Phillies leading 4-2, but he allowed a one-out single and a double. After striking out Harrison Bader, Arano appeared to strike out Yairo Munoz for the final out of the game, but the ball trickled through the legs of catcher Andrew Knapp, allowing a run to score and the tying run to move to third base. Lefty Adam Morgan came in to face pinch-hitter Kolten Wong. Wong tied the game up, sneaking a single into center field.

In the 10th inning, Jake Thompson gave up the go-ahead run on a leadoff home run to Tommy Pham. It seemed like it was just going to be another one of those losses that have become increasingly common for the Phillies lately. But the Phillies’ offense didn’t go down quietly, even though it hadn’t put a runner on second base since the start of the second inning when J.P. Crawford doubled. In the bottom half of the 10th, Hoskins blooped a single into shallow left-center to start the inning. Hoskins moved to second base on a ground out from Odubel Herrera. Matt Bowman intentionally walked Carlos Santana, then struck out Jesmuel Valentin. That brought up Aaron Altherr, who replaced Nick Williams after Williams took a baseball to the face off of the right field fence. Bowman fell behind 2-1, then threw a 90 MPH fastball that Altherr lined into left field. Rather than keep the ball in front of him, Marcell Ozuna decided to dive for the ball to make the final out, but he missed. The ball trickled past him, allowing the tying and the game-winning runs to score, giving the Phillies a come-from-behind win.

On the list of people happy to see Ozuna miss that ball are Altherr (of course), Arano, Morgan, and Thompson. But perhaps no one was happier than manager Gape Kapler. The win might help take the heat off of him somewhat after another poor performance from the bullpen. When a team struggles, everyone wants a scapegoat and Kapler is an easy target. He has been all year, undeservingly.

Phillies radio broadcaster and former major league reliever Larry Anderson said after the bullpen meltown, “Not everybody can pitch in the ninth inning. And I know Gabe Kapler thinks they can, but they can’t.” Aside from Ramos and Seranthony Dominguez (who was unavailable after throwing 52 pitches between Saturday and Sunday in Milwaukee), no one in that bullpen has been reliable. The closer, Hector Neris, just got optioned to Triple-A. You work with what you have, and right now, Kapler doesn’t have a whole lot. Thankfully for him, he wasn’t punished with another loss thanks to Ozuna.