Tonight Could Be Interesting, Folks

I touched on this briefly this morning, and Jon at Dodger Thoughts just posted a timely and informative pitch count chart, but suffice to say: the Dodger pitching staff is in shambles for tonight, as it currently stands.

Think about it: the Dodgers have 12 men on the pitching staff currently – so 11, behind tonight’s starter Vicente Padilla. Five of them are completely unavailable tonight (assuming that unlike with Charlie Haeger, Joe Torre won’t risk Chad Billingsley or Clayton Kershaw in between starts):

Definitely unavailable (5):
Hiroki Kuroda (started Thurs.)
Chad Billingsley (started Wed.)
Clayton Kershaw (started Tues.)
Jonathan Broxton (pitched three days in a row)
Ramon Ortiz (pitched three days in a row)

Almost certainly unavailable (2):
George Sherrill (pitched two days in a row, and poorly)
Charlie Haeger (Saturday’s starter)

Available tonight (4):
Ramon Troncoso (probable closer)
Russ Ortiz
Carlos Monasterios
Jeff Weaver

So among your four-man, all-righty bullpen, that’s one good pitcher who was still your 4th or 5th best option entering the season (Troncoso), 2 non-roster veterans, and a Rule 5 pick – and that’s keeping in mind that Weaver pitched last night and on six of the previous nine days, and that Russ Ortiz is Russ Ortiz.

What this means, if Padilla can’t put together a decent and lengthy start tonight, is a possible disaster. Sure, Jon jokingly included James Loney on his pitch count chart, but how far away are we from actually seeing that? Unfortunately, even if they wanted to bring in help from AAA, the pickings are sparse from there as well. James McDonald, Scott Elbert, and Josh Lindblom started in each of the last three games, so you’d assume they’re not available tonight (or even for tomorrow, should Haeger forgo his start to help tonight). Brent Leach pitched two innings last night, as well.  Plus, Hong-Chih Kuo started his rehab stint last night, and there’s no news on Ronald Belisario, so consider them out too. So if they’re bringing someone up, we’re looking at… Luis Ayala? Travis Schlichting? Justin Miller? Jon Link? Hey, why not Nick Green – he pitched two scoreless innings last year! Some of those guys would need to be put on the 40-man roster, though that’s not a huge issue since either Cory Wade or Brad Ausmus could be put on the 60-day DL.

The point is, keep a close eye on the game tonight. If Padilla’s not up for the challenge, you might see some interesting faces on the mound.

By the way, this could have partially been avoided, you know. I don’t want to cry over spilled milk too much… so I’ll let commenter matt do it for me:

This seams like a good time to have Eric Stults around…

Sigh… yes. Yes it does. Not like we could have predicted this though, right?