John Ely’s Streaky Season Continues

How streaky is John Ely? After a mediocre debut in New York (which I’m skipping here because A) his line in that game was inflated by his own lousy defense and B) I was there, and I’ve been at football games in December which were warmer), he ran off the stretch which inspired #ElyMania: six games in which he allowed 1, 2, 2, 2, 1, and 0 earned runs.

Then, he ran into a bit of a wall, allowing 4, 4, and 7 runs over the next three, before getting it right back on track with back-to-back seven-inning, one-earned run outings at Anaheim and San Francisco.

And now… this is his second game in a row in which he couldn’t get out of the third inning. It’s not that he’s lost his trademark control – four walks over those two outings isn’t that bad – but he’s also not making anyone miss. Ely managed just one strikeout today, and even that was against opposing pitcher Tom Gorzelanny.

You’re sure to hear calls for Ely to be replaced, but I think that’s premature. Don’t get me wrong; I think the Dodgers absolutely will acquire a starting pitcher before the month is out, and I don’t disagree with them for doing so. But it’s important to remember that Ely is essentially your 5th starter, yet he entered today’s game with a FIP of 3.53. Despite his two crappy starts in a row, he had those two excellent ones before that – and in the 13 starts he’s made since his debut, he’s allowed more than four earned runs in just three of them. From a rookie 5th starter, that’s performance you can live with.

Again, I’m not saying I’ll shed tears if/when he gets replaced by a trade import. Just that he deserves a crack to turn it around until that happens, rather than being replaced by someone from AAA who hasn’t proven much at the big league level like Charlie Haeger or James McDonald. Besides, with the All-Star Break coming up and then an offday on July 26th, the team could conceivably make it through the rest of the month needing to use the 5th starter’s spot just twice more.

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A few bits of good news from this game: A.J. Ellis and Xavier Paul each got on base twice and hooked up to throw out a runner at the plate, hopefully helping their cases to stick with the club. Even better, we saw some signs of life from the back end of the bullpen. Justin Miller struck out four of the six he saw and Carlos Monasterios struck out the side in the 7th (though allowing an Aramis Ramirez homer). Travis Schlichting‘s line score looks pretty – 2.2 scoreless – though he didn’t help Ely any by allowing singles to the first two men he faced, adding two more runs to Ely’s line. I imagine we’d have looked at Ely’s start a little differently had he allowed four earned runs rather than six.

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Update: Dylan Hernandez reports that Rafael Furcal will be added to the All-Star team to replace Jose Reyes, who will be dropping out due to injury. Obviously, this is what should have happened in the first place, but better too late than not at all.

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