10/08/06 1:50 AM ET
Chess Match: Oliver gets mixed results
Lefty makes Randolph look good, bad in up-and-down stint
By Jim Street / MLB.com
As was the case in the first two games of this series, decisions made by opposing managers Willie Randolph of the Mets and first-year Dodgers skipper Grady Little figured prominently in the outcome of Game 3.
Time for a change
The situation: After scoring two runs, cutting a four-run deficit in half, the Dodgers had runners on second and third base with one out in the fourth inning.
The decision: When left-handed hitting Andre Ethier was announced as a pinch-hitter, Randolph replaced right-handed starter Steve Trachsel with left-handed reliever Darren Oliver.
The outcome: Ethier hit a soft line drive up the middle. Oliver caught the ball, turned and threw to third base for the inning-ending double play.
Well, on second thought...
The situation: The Dodgers had a runner on first base with two outs in the fifth inning when Jeff Kent came to bat representing the tying run.
The decision: Randolph, who could have brought submarine-artist Chad Bradford in to pitch to Kent -- the hottest hitter the Dodgers have and the most likely to hit a home run, stayed with Oliver.
The outcome: Kent hit the first pitch he saw from Oliver for a game-tying two-run home run to left field.
Take another approach
The situation: Kent's two-run home run keyed a three-run rally in the fifth inning that gave the Dodgers a 5-4 lead.
The decision: Little, who had used starter Brad Penny in relief in Game 1 and it didn't work out so well, went to Jonathan Broxton to start the sixth inning.
The outcome: Broxton surrendered a double, walk and single to the four batters he faced as the Mets regained the lead and never lost it.
Jim Street is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.