There’s absolutely nothing good I can say about Chad Billingsley‘s start last night, despite his claims to the contrary, so I won’t. Really, all I can do is offer you some backup to defend against his detractors, and that’s that his FIP is only 3.45, while Dan Haren‘s is 3.81. Billingsley’s ERA is so high in large part because he’s suffered through a career-high .347 BABIP – and because the bullpen generally hasn’t done a great job of keeping his inherited runners off the board.
Still, coming after Clayton Kershaw‘s lousy start the night before, it’s hardly an inspiring start to the second half. What is it with the Dodgers in St. Louis? Playoffs aside, I’m pretty sure they haven’t won there since 1972.
Of course the big news coming out of last night were the injury concerns with Manny Ramirez and Russell Martin. Starting with Manny, he took his at-bat in the top of the first and never made it into the field, having apparently strained his calf. Again.
There’s no news yet on whether he’ll head to the disabled list, but my guess is that it’s probably pretty likely. He’s having a hard enough time staying healthy as it is, so you’d think they wouldn’t want to make him play while injured and just exacerbate the situation. Jon Weisman points out that if that’s the case, the Dodgers are suddenly looking thin: Reed Johnson is also on the DL, and the only healthy position players on the 40-man roster are Ivan DeJesus Jr. and Trayvon Robinson.
Robinson, 22, has actually had a very good season at AA: .382 OBP and 29 steals thus far. But he’s also struck out once per game at that level, and unlike Xavier Paul, I do consider him someone who needs to play every day right now, so I wouldn’t want to start his clock just to fill out the bench for a week or so until Johnson is ready to return.
No, if you do have to replace Manny from within, you have to do it by recalling a non-roster player killing the ball at ABQ – Jay Gibbons, Jamie Hoffmann or John Lindsey. None are on the 40-man roster, but the Dodgers have three open spots, by my count, and that’s without even considering the one that’s about to open up when George Sherrill is gone. One will be needed for Brad Ausmus – more on him in a second – but roster space isn’t an issue.
All have nice numbers at ABQ, which should be taken with a huge grain of salt: Hoffmann has an .804 OPS, Gibbons .920, and Lindsey an absurd 1.140. Hoffmann has the advantage of having been with the big club before, and he’s an excellent defensive outfielder. Lindsey’s numbers are crazy, but he’s limited to 1B, while Gibbons can play 1B or the corner outfield spots.
Obviously, the hope is that Manny doesn’t go on the DL,but there could be a silver lining if he does; if one of these three gets called up (I’d go with Gibbons due to his being lefty and able to play more than one spot) and they make a good impression, it could go a long way towards getting Garret Anderson off the team when Manny and Johnson are healthy again.
Martin hadn’t informed the team medical staff of the nagging issue, which he said he had been dealing with for several days
Aaaannd… facepalm. How many times have we heard this before – that a player doesn’t let the team know he’s hurt – and how many times has it ever ended well? Tony Jackson’s story implies that it doesn’t seem to be enough to send him to the DL, but I almost hope it would, because that’s the only way he’s going to take any time off. I wouldn’t think it possible, but he’s actually been worse than ever over the last month (.184/.297/.237 in 22 games) so I really don’t see the point of allowing him to try to play through this – it’s not helping him or the team.
As for Ausmus, he’s expected to be activated within the next week barring any setbacks. I assume A.J. Ellis is starting today – I mean, he has to, right – and if Martin hasn’t improved by the time Ausmus is ready he needs to be put on the DL, even if he doesn’t like it.