And this one was Jonathan Broxton‘s fault too! He wasn’t sending enough V-energy in from the bullpen, or something. Nah, this one’s likely to get blamed on James McDonald, who wasn’t great, allowing four runs on nine hits over five innings. That said, I didn’t have high hopes for him in the first place:
McDonald missed over a month with a hamstring pull, and his three starts since his return have been mixed. Four shutout innings on July 1 was a nice start, but then he allowed four earned runs in 6.2 IP at Iowa on July 6. Then on the 11th, he allowed just one run over 6.1 at Omaha, but did so while walking four and striking out just two, so it’s hard to say what to expect. I’m not convinced that he’s any better than Ely is right now, but I’m glad to see him get a chance.
And McDonald’s results were predictably mediocre, because while it was nice that he worked out of a bases-loaded, no-out jam… he also loaded the bases with no outs. Long-term, I still prefer him as a reliever; I know it’s only been five career starts and it’s unfair to judge him on that, but he’s been so much more effective out of the bullpen.
Of course, the Dodgers still have to worry about who’s going to start the next time the #5 spot comes around on Saturday against the Mets. It could be McDonald, or Ely (who allowed three runs in seven innings in his first ABQ start), or Carlos Monasterios, who followed McDonald with two shutout innings. My choice is Ely, probably. While his last two starts were terrible, his two previous starts were each one run allowed over seven innings. You could make the case to give McDonald another shot and I’d be okay with that, but there’s no way that Monasterios should be starting over Ely.
But really, this isn’t totally McDonald’s fault. The culprit here was the same as it’s been for a while: the Dodger offense. We’re now three weeks into July, and the offense has been entirely Rafael Furcal (1.238 OPS), James Loney (.986), and Andre Ethier (.911). Blake DeWitt‘s been decent when he gets to play (.805), Matt Kemp is sliding backwards again (.715, and you don’t hear Torre’s benching getting much credit now, do you?) and Russell Martin (.693) and particularly Casey Blake (.447; 6 hits in 53 PA) have been horrendous. Plus of course, Manny has made zero contribution.
You can worry about the pitching all you want, but when half of your lineup is a total black hole, and has been for some time now, you’ve got bigger problems than you can fill via trade.
Regarding Jamey Carroll starting in left field… well, I applaud Torre for looking at innovative ways to get his best performers in the lineup, and believe it or not, Carroll has been a nice find at the plate. But remember, the choice here was not between Carroll or Xavier Paul; it was between Paul and Ronnie Belliard (assuming that Carroll would have started at 2B, if not LF). Belliard’s been awful all season, despite two hits on Sunday, and he proved that again last night. Has Madison Bumgarner, with all of five starts under his belt entering the game, really earned that kind of lefty/righty platoon respect?
I missed it last week, but MSTI just celebrated our three-year anniversary – and today just so happens to be the 1,000th post. Hooray for us!