Chad Billingsley has no heart! You’d think that a game in which the offense got blanked yet again and Scott Podsednik turned a double into an inside-the-park homer, while Billingsley was decent (and technically got a quality start) if not as good as his previous starts would buy him some love, but no, there’s still some braindead “fans” on the Dodger Facebook page thinking otherwise. Why I bother to ever even read over there is my own mistake, I suppose.
Still, on the same night that James McDonald dazzled in his Pirates debut (struck out five of the first six, went six scoreless striking out eight against one walk), and when Joe Torre admitted Russell Martin is probably gone for the season, to see the Dodgers get shut out again feels like just another nail in the coffin. While Ryan Theriot actually contributed with three hits, James Loney went 0-3 with men in scoring position and left about thirty men on base.
So the Dodgers are now eight games back in the NL West, six back in the wild card, and just three games over .500. With the bad injury news piling up – Rafael Furcal won’t be back until next week, and who knows about Manny – you would be forgiven for thinking “this year just isn’t the year”.
Oh, and after this weekend’s series with Washington, the Dodgers have one of the toughest schedules in baseball, playing almost exclusively contenders other than a four-game set with Houston and some matchups with Arizona in September. So there’s that.
Just sayin’, if you’re in a game that isn’t going to extra innings and hasn’t seen any catastrophic injuries, and you still find yourself needing to stick Andre Ethier at first base, then you need to rethink the way your bench is put together.
Random thought for a Friday morning: MLBTR is reporting that the Cardinals have interest in Pirates 3B Andy LaRoche. The Cardinals have had injury issues at the hot corner, and LaRoche has fallen far behind Pedro Alvarez and Neil Walker in Pittsburgh. Since it’s August, LaRoche would have to pass through waivers, meaning all NL teams with worse records than St. Louis would have a chance to claim him.
LaRoche has been a flop at the big-league level, with just a .651 OPS and just .589 this year, though much of that has come as a pinch-hitter of late. He’ll almost certainly never be anywhere close to the star many of us thought he could be, but he has shown some flashes, hitting .313/.359/.552 with 5 homers in September/October of last season.
As it’s been since Adrian Beltre left, the future of third base for the Dodgers is a mess. Casey Blake probably gets to start next year just because they’re paying him, even though he’s clearly in decline, and the farm system is barren for at least three years after that (I don’t have faith in Pedro Baez). Assuming that the price is low, as it would have to be thanks to his performance, isn’t that worth a waiver claim? He’s still only 26, and when you’re in the situation that the Dodgers are, you have to dream on a lottery ticket every now and then. Really, after McDonald’s performance last night, they should just tell the Pirates to retroactively stick him into the Dotel deal.