Tough Night in the Desert


No way around it: Hiroki Kuroda‘s start last night was almost as ugly as those horrendous white hats that MLB is forcing upon every team in an attempt to ruin each holiday of the summer. He got just five outs, allowing six runs on eight hits and two walks (with two wild pitches thrown in for good measure) – really, just terrible no matter how you try to spin it. All you can do is realize that even a pitcher with Kuroda’s record of effectiveness is going to have a poor game every now and then (especially in a ballpark like Arizona’s, and who knows how much of an impact Thursday’s bloodbath had on a team desperate to not be further embarrassed had), and move on.

It wasn’t all bad, though. Rafael Furcal continued his hot streak with two more hits, and James Loney and Andre Ethier had three apiece. Even Blake DeWitt had 2 hits and 3 RBI, and for all the worry about his offensive production this season, it’s worth noting that if he had enough plate appearances to qualify, his OPS would be 11th in MLB among second basemen, far above noted contemporaries like Aaron Hill, Chone Figgins, and Howie Kendrick.

Really, if there’s anything to take away from this game, it’s that the bloom might be off the rose of Justin Miller. After starting his Dodger career with 6.1 scoreless innings over 4 games, Miller has now allowed runs in six of his last ten outings, letting opponents pile up a .995 OPS in that time. Since Miller was never all that good in the first place, this isn’t all that big of a surprise, but worth noting – and if it continues, it might not be a bad idea to start thinking about calling up a Travis Schlichting or Jon Link from ABQ to take his place.

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Kuroda’s lousy outing last night was somewhat obscured by the fact that – despite what we’d been told earlier – Manny Ramirez will indeed go on the DL to rest his hamstring. Xavier Paul is coming back up, and you would think that between Paul’s dominance in AAA and Torre’s previous statements about not wanting him to be somewhere he isn’t playing every day, that he’d be the starting left fielder, at least against righties, with Reed Johnson spotting against lefties. Right?

With Manny Ramirez unavailable Friday night and possibly headed to the disabled list with a bad right hamstring, manager Joe Torre indicated he would choose daily between Garret Anderson and Reed Johnson to replace him.

“It will be the type of pitchers or the match-up,” Torre said.

I don’t want to belabor the point here, because clearly there’s been absolutely no shortage of Anderson-bashing on this blog. But, seriously, what is it going to take to get Torre to come around on this? What pitchers are going to make a good matchup for Anderson right now, six-year-old girls with muscular dystrophy? He accounted for four outs in his first three at-bats yesterday before managing to drop a single into right field, and he’s hitting .183/.198/.296. This isn’t a situation where he needs time to acclimate to his new role. He’s DONE, and everyone seems to see that except for Joe Torre.

Meanwhile, Xavier Paul is hitting .348/.404/.635 for the Isotopes, and lest you think that’s a stat line which is entirely due to the ABQ atmosphere, note that he’s still got a pretty tasty line of .320/.381/.534 on the road. This is the fifth year in a row in which he’s increased his OPS in the minors, and he has a 103 OPS+ in his limited time in the majors. 90% of the rest of baseball would be falling over themselves to give a prospect like that a chance at a full-time job. Granted, most of those teams don’t have an outfield like Manny/Kemp/Ethier, but to say that you’re going to play a husk of a corpse of a cadaver like the 38-year-old Anderson, who has proven that his value is zero, is obscene. It’s hard to say that the Dodgers are doing everything they can to win when you see situations like these, isn’t it?

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A quick note about the story that Matt Kemp got into an argument with bench coach Bob Schaefer, and that’s why he was benched: ESPN’s Buster Olney has a pretty good dig at the situation:

Joe Torre wouldn’t talk about why he didn’t seek out a meeting with Matt Kemp, as Mr. Hernandez writes within this notebook. “It’s none of your business,” Torre told a reporter.

Not until the publicist calls as the next book is released, anyway. That’s when everything is fair game, apparently.

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  1. [...] Ethier, Furcal, James Loney, Blake DeWitt, and Xavier Paul, who got on base three times and – as you may have heard – is pretty good. Six – count ‘em, six – errors by Arizona, including three [...]

  2. [...] again in July. Meanwhile, Xavier Paul is hitting .348/.404/.635 for the Isotopes, and lest you think that’s a [...]