I'm rooting for him, even if I've mostly given up on him. After his awful start I said it was down to a 1% chance that he could really come back, and that percentage has to go up after his six inning scoreless start, though I'm not sure by how much. That's so cruel. Why can't he just be praised for the magnificent results provided by that start? What is it that makes people find faults, look for reasons to doubt?
I'd love to be wrong. I'm not upset I was wrong about Mota. ( Though I am also mindful that by the end of the year my initial assessment of him could still prove out. I hope not. ) I never thought the Dodgers would get what they got from Pierre while Manny was out. I never thought Schmidt could give the Dodgers six scoreless innings on the road, especially after what we saw in his first two starts. And he did it. That's great.
Let's be fair to everyone. Fair to Schmidt, and not pull him down after his great start. And fair to Stults, too. That's the hard part. I'm still not convinced Schmidt is any more deserving of the fifth spot in the rotation than Stults. All those walks and fly balls Schmidt gave up don't make Schmidt's start any less praise-wrothy, but they do change what we should expect from him in the future. On some other day if you walk 5 and give up lots of fly balls there will probably be at least one three run home run. It's a dangerous way to pitch. I wish it wasn't so but it is. As fine as that start is he's going to have to improve if he's going to be effective over the long run. I don't know if I succeeded in not pulling down Schmidt here. I don't want to, but I also don't want to say things I don't believe. At the very least we saw some real improvement in his last start. It wasn't all him getting lucky. Maybe he can build on this, reduce the walks, reduce the fly balls, and sustain these kind of results. I don't give it high odds, but it could happen. The good thing is that Schmidt knows he was a little lucky in Atlanta; he knows he has to improve.
None of this matters very much to the Dodgers chances this year, unless the teams behind them ( 8 games behind ) surge and make a race of it in which every start really matters, or unless one of the front four starters goes down for the postseason we all hope the Dodgers go to. The Dodger 'pen is so stacked that it doesn't figure any fifth starter will be used as a long man in the playoffs.
I'm going to let the positive have the last word here. After my entry on Schmidt's previous start in which he was bombed, the following anonymous comment appeared in response to me basically giving up on Schmidt:
i SO wanted him to succeed. i was introduced to Los Amigos Group (AA recovery)right around the time he went down & it changed my life, nobody believed i would sober up just like nobody believes Schmidt can come back...
I would say, whatever else happens with Schmidt, he has come back. Six scoreless innings in Atlanta is not something I ever expected to see out of him this year. That's something to be proud of, no matter what else happens. I really have no idea what AA is like but I'm pretty sure you take what victories you can find and don't listen to naysayers.
Game 103 Unfair Win Shares ( Dodgers )
Schmidt -- 2
Ethier -- 1
I almost have one to the new Sherrill in town, but in the end I went with the sentimental choice. And big kudos to Ethier for his home run. It's about time these guys started hitting home runs again.
Game 103 Unfair Loss Shares ( Braves )
McClouth -- 1
McCann -- 1
Hanson -- 1
Other Braves had worse offensive days than McCann, but those other guys didn't leave the bases loaded.