It’s only one game, but the season is pretty much over. The Dodgers don’t have an ace – and in Vicente Padilla, they may not even have a 5th starter. They don’t have any relievers, since George Sherrill and Ramon Ortiz each got lit up, and they don’t even have any offense, since the top 3 in the lineup - Rafael Furcal, Russell Martin, and Andre Ethier – combined to leave 10 men on base.
There may be 161 games remaining, but this team is just playing out the string. If you can’t hold the Pirates, of all teams, to less than double digits, what happens when you go into Philadelphia or Colorado – particularly when the Rockies got off on the right foot while winning in Milwaukee?
It’s time to give up.
Oh, sorry. I was just channeling my inner Kyle Chandler to see what tomorrow’s papers will read. Today’s opener sure wasn’t pretty, and no one’s arguing that. Let’s just get out ahead of the doom-and-gloom and look at what this really means. Over the long run, it’s not all that big a deal, since it is just one game. Opening Day starter or not, Vicente Padilla is this team’s 4th starter, and while it’s certainly important that he step up this season, he doesn’t have to be the top starter on the club. I’m pretty sure that if this exact game had happened in the 4th game of the season rather than the 1st, the feeling wouldn’t be nearly so bad.
As for today’s game in a nutshell… yikes. Padilla didn’t make it out of the 5th, despite throwing 93 pitches. Allowing 7 runs is bad enough, but it was almost worse than that, because he just looked bad. He didn’t make it through a single inning without allowing a baserunner, and even though I’ll admit the slight possibility that Garrett Jones may be the unholy lovechild of Roy Hobbs and Babe Ruth, he’s probably not going to keep up the 324 homer pace he’s on this season. Then you had Russell Martin, who made a fielding error and foolishly got caught in a rundown on a ground ball in front of him.
Even more concerning than that mess was the self-immolation of George Sherrill, who was so brilliant for the Dodgers last season. After an entire spring of hearing him claim that his mechanical issues were “no big deal” and that he’d be fine when the season started, he came in and after getting two quick outs, allowed a walk, a double, and a three-run homer to Ryan Church Doumit. With Hong-Chih Kuo on the DL and Scott Elbert trying to be a starter in ABQ, the Dodgers may be have a serious lefty problem in the pen if Sherrill can’t get straightened out, and quick. (Insert “why was Eric Stults given up for nothing” complaint here.)
It’s not all bad news, though; Rule 5 rookie Carlos Monasterios made his MLB debut by contributing a tidy 1-2-3 inning, the only Dodger pitcher who can make that claim today. Plus, the offense was actually pretty decent, as Manny, Kemp, DeWitt, and Blake all collected two hits, while Furcal and Martin each got on base twice. That’s the kind of offense you can live with.
Tomorrow’s an offday tomorrow, and it’s almost certainly going to suck. Just remember, though; most teams move on to Game 2 with a lesser starter. Since the Dodgers are running out Kershaw on Wednesday, they’ll be improving the quality of starting pitching by about 100000%.