If you didn’t watch today’s game, then you didn’t miss anything you haven’t already seen, unless you’ve somehow managed to miss the awful San Diego camouflage uniforms before. Seriously, let’s run though the list of what happened this afternoon, and tell me that I couldn’t be describing 90% of the other games we’ll see this year, wins or losses:
Part of the Dodger scoring came from friendly opposition defense. Just as we saw in the opening San Francisco series, some of the Dodger scoring came directly as a result of poor defense. After Matt Kemp singled and stole second, James Loney grounded weakly back to pitcher Aaron Harang, who attempted to get Kemp at third but threw wildly to the fence, allowing Kemp to score. The first run wasn’t exactly a fireworks display either; Tony Gwynn singled, stole second, was sacrificed to third, and came home on a fielder’s choice.
The outfield provided all of the offense. Kemp, Andre Ethier (on his 29th birthday) and Gwynn had the only four Dodger hits and both runs, with Ethier getting the only RBI and Kemp & Gwynn each notching steals. Kemp and Ethier are off to good starts, but Gwynn’s been a pleasant early-season surprise too, even collecting his first walk today. This kind of production from the outfielders is great, but it’s only going to get you so far when…
Juan Uribe, James Loney, Rod Barajas & Aaron Miles provided absolutely nothing. Nothing. The foursome combined to go 0-for-12, with Loney ending the game by grounding into a double play, and with Barajas the only one who isn’t showing at least 2/3 of his triple-slash line in the .100s. (Jamey Carroll went 0-3 as well, but I’m exempting him here because he’s at least shown some life this season.) I’m still confident that Uribe and Barajas will at least start to add some power to their generally lousy production otherwise, so we can be a bit patient there. Loney, well, we know all about – completely unrelated, Jerry Sands hit his second homer of the season for ABQ today – and Miles has no place on a big-league roster whatsoever.
Don Mattingly’s batting orders will always confound me. I don’t particularly like the idea of putting Gwynn leadoff, but I suppose on a day where Rafael Furcal is sitting I can see the case for it. But Aaron Miles hitting second, really? The guy who is, by one measure, the fourth-worst player in baseball over the last eight seasons? I get, of course, the idea that batting orders generally don’t mean as much as we like to think they do, but Miles shouldn’t even be on the team. Letting him generate outs in front of Ethier and Kemp, particularly while Carroll is buried at 8th, makes no sense.
Pitchers who don’t belong on major league rosters aren’t going to produce. Actually, that’s a bit harsh on John Ely, because his line of four earned runs in 5.2 innings leaves him with an ugly 6.35 ERA, with no expectation to have a chance to change that any time soon, but it obscures what was mostly a decent spot start. Ely’s basically the club’s 7th starter, but managed to work into the sixth inning having allowed just two runs before running into trouble. There’s plenty of teams who can’t get that out of their third starter, and Ely wasn’t going to win today anyway due to the offense, so overall I’m satisfied with that out of a fill-in guy. Really, I’m referring more to Lance Cormier here, who gave up two hits and a walk in allowing two runs in his one mop-inning.
Now tell me none of that sounds familiar? Of course it does, and it’s partly why the Dodgers have the second-worst run differential in the National League, ahead of only Houston. (That is, of course, also largely due to the 10-0 loss to the Giants, and that’s something that won’t last throughout the season.)
Before the game, Hector Gimenez was placed on the disabled list with an all-too-convenient knee injury, opening up a spot for Ely. I joke about the timing because the spot was needed and we hadn’t heard anything about this until now, but Tony Jackson reports that A.J. Ellis was already packing his bags for Albuquerque before being told to stop, so apparently it’s real. Ellis is more valuable than Gimenez anyway, so I consider that a win.
Ely will almost certainly be returned to AAA in time for tomorrow’s game, with an extra arm (Ramon Troncoso, Scott Elbert, Travis Schlichting) or additional bat (Jamie Hoffmann, Russ Mitchell) coming up to round out the roster for the week. Whomever does come up would do well to travel light, since they’d be heading back down for Jon Garland on Friday. Garland allowed six hits and three runs in 4.2 innings for Rancho Cucamonga in a rehab start today.