Joe Torre is an all time great manager. He has four World Series Rings as a manager for the New York Yankees. He knows how to manage lineups, and certainly knows his players' mentalities.
His biggest weakness has always been bullpen management. Even back in his Yankee days, he would either overwork his veterans or not use his young guns too often, thus hindering their development.
This year, I've seen him frequently turn to his either over the hill, untrustworthy veterans, or just plain bad pitchers. Some of these substitutions make sense— like putting in Jeff Weaver in the seventh inning of a one run game after Carlos Monasterios had allowed two singles to start off the inning. Weaver, prior to this game, had a 4.09 ERA. He got the double play to start off his work, but then he proceeded to allow three runs that inning.
Others don't make sense at all— like putting in George Sherrill during a tied ball game in the ninth inning against San Diego. Sherrill only got one out that inning, and allowed the game winning run to come in. Sherrill has pitched 23.4 innings, with an ERA of 7.23 this year, and has been very untrustworthy for the Dodgers. Too many innings for a guy who allows over seven runs per nine innings.
Other times, he overworks his pitchers. We can look at Jonathan Broxton. Broxton around April and May was frequently dialing up the heat to over 100 mph. June saw a major decline in his velocity, probably associated with his overworked and tired arm. He was hitting 90-94 on the radar gun, and for a fastball pitcher like him, that is bad. He had a horrid June and July, as his ERA has sky-rocketed to over 3.00.
Back with the Yankees, his bullpen mistakes wouldn't have accounted for much— they would make playoffs either way, and would eventually win the World Series four times. But with Los Angeles, being a couple games out of Wild Card, and within reach of San Diego for the Division lead, they need every win possible. Torre's bullpen management has stripped the Dodgers of at least five to ten wins. With those wins, the Dodgers would be in the Wild Card lead, and possibly in the lead for the Division.
If Los Angeles fails to make the playoffs this year, the blame rests squarely on Joe Torre's shoulders.
Torre is an all time great manager, but age may have finally caught up to the skipper.