Vicente Padilla Ends the First Half With a Bang

Can we just talk about Vicente Padilla for a second? He was absolutely masterful in tonight’s first-half finale against the Cubs, allowing just two hits and a walk in eight outstanding innings. More importantly, it was his fourth excellent start in a row, and first of the season in which he hasn’t allowed a home run.

Padilla’s been on a hell of a roll lately:

7/11 vs CHC: 8 IP, 0 ER, 6 K, 1 BB
7/6 vs FLA: 6.2 IP, 2 ER, 9 K, 1 BB
6/30 @ SFG: 7 IP, 1 ER, 5 K, 1 BB
6/25 vs NYY: 7 IP, 2 ER, 7 K, 1 BB

That’s following up the run he put together at the end of last season, upon joining the Dodgers. Really, other than his rough start to this season – and it’s not too much of a stretch to say that the arm injury that put him out for two months may have contributed heavily to that – Padilla’s been unbelievably reliable since coming to Los Angeles.

Say what you will about the Dodgers needing to acquire another starter (and believe me, I have about 2200 words on that subject coming tomorrow), the top four of Kershaw/Kuroda/Billingsley/Padilla has come together quite nicely.

Enjoy the three days off. I was going to say “I know I will”, but I feel like I have more words planned here than I do for when they’re actually playing. So stick around.

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You probably heard already that John Ely was sent back to AAA, but I obviously don’t think we’ve seen the last of him. The immediate repercussion is to get an extra reliever up (in this case, Jon Link) instead of a 5th starter who wasn’t going to pitch for over a week anyway. I really don’t think we’ve seen the last of Ely, of course. Yes, the ten-day period you have to wait before recalling a player would mean that he couldn’t make his next start, but how hard would it really be to say that George Sherrill or Justin Miller came down with tetanus or something in order to do so?

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I didn’t think about this as I was being asked it on Twitter, but for once I understand Joe Torre’s decision to pull Padilla after 8 sparkling innings, rather than letting him go for the complete game. Hong-Chih Kuo hadn’t pitched in a full week, and even if he gets into the All-Star Game, he still has two of the next three days off. Nothing wrong with making sure he gets his work in.

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I don’t want to get anyone’s hopes up, but Garret Anderson made another out, dropping his line to a putrid .173/.194/.276. He’s now in the bottom ten worst seasons in Dodger history for someone with as many plate appearances as he has. Xavier Paul got on base twice more tonight, and with Manny returning on Thursday after the break, someone’s going to have to go. Could we have possibly seen GA’s last at-bat as a Dodger? A man can dream.

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