10 April 2010

Dodgers Lose, Brain Cells Riot

After catching and surpassing a Marlin's lead twice, and taking their own two run lead into the ninth inning, the Dodgers yak up the game and fall 6-7, bringing their tally on the season to 2-3. The Dodgers still look like a 0.500 team, maybe even worse, and the twin problems dragging down this dynamic offensive club are starting pitchers who can't pitch deep into games and a thinly stretched relief corps that isn't up to the job.

It is perhaps accurate to say that Broxton should have been ready for tonight's game, that he could have closed tonight if either Torre had managed his outings better or if Russ Ortiz hadn't been so awful last night, but of more importance is that the combination of Troncoso and Sherrill should have been enough to get the job done anyway. They didn't, and we are left wondering just what kind of bullpen we have this year. Belisario should show up at some point, and maybe Kuo, and there are young arms to be called up, perhaps, or inadvisable trades for middle relievers or overpriced closers to be made. There are ways to attempt to improve a bullpen, should that prove necessary. But there are never any guarantees with relievers. They are inherently volatile.

Which is part of why it would be foolish to draw any firm conclusions after five games, except the ones we could have made before the season. Russ Ortiz has no place in the Dodgers pen. Ramon Ortiz should hang on only as long as there are no better options. ( Why does not the same apply to Russ Ortiz? Because there are always better options to Russ Ortiz. It's a law of space and time. ) Jeff Weaver continues to be a middle innings dream-weaver and we can only hope he doesn't regress and turn into a nightmare-weaver. I thought before the season started that Sherrill was a candidate to be a bad pitcher this year and that he might not even finish the season with the Dodgers and so far he is right on track for that. Except who would want him if he keeps pitching like this?

Sherrill may yet turn it around; we can't rule that out yet. Can we say the same for Vicente Padilla? I don't see why we should have to, given that there was so little evidence beyond appealing to small sample sizes and the magic of changing uniforms to support his being a good starting pitcher. I don't think the Dodgers have a chance at winning 90 games again if he stays in the rotation all season.

But even if the Dodgers can improve on Padilla's spot in the rotation they still need the bullpen to be stronger. And I think it will, but --- I am worried, even after five games. The thing about a bad 'pen is that a couple of times a week it gives up just enough runs to lose the game, no matter how well the offense played. It becomes a loss-seeking missile whose collateral damage is the good will and sanity of the team's fans. Boy, I sure don't want to go insane.


Anonymous said...

Why are you hammering on Russ Ortiz? He's had ONE bad inning since the beginning of spring - two lights-out appearances in Pittsburgh, and one tough inning at Florida - it was Broxton who gave up the double. And it has been Sherrill who has sucked all spring, and now again tonight. Russ Ortiz has been GREAT this year, and a great find for the Dodgers. Why hacks like you, on blogs like this, can't do your homework - it's beyond me.

MT said...

Ortiz's failure to do his job in Friday's game has been on of the more pivotal failures of this young season. I agree with the blogger- Ortiz's track record gives no reason to believe that he will be even close to average this year. His success in spring training is irrelevant. Performances like Friday's will become the expectation.