Dodger Injuries Outnumber Dodger Runs


You’d think that’s a title which would represent a complete and utter rarity, but the way this season has gone… not so much. On the same day we found out that Jon Garland was headed to the disabled list with right shoulder soreness (though the move was not officially made, because Vicente Padilla was apparently not ready), shortstop Rafael Furcal injured himself for approximately the 59th time in his Dodger career. This time, he hurt his side on a throw to third during a rundown play, not that the details really matter. He’s officially listed as “day to day”, which means we can expect him back sometime in late August. While we await news on the severity of his injury, if he does end up heading back to the DL, I’ll place full blame on Juan Castro, who was almost certain to lose his job this weekend when Juan Uribe gets activated.

As for the game, Hiroki Kuroda struggled through six innings, needing 114 pitches to get that far and ended up walking more than he struck out for the first time in well over a year. Despite that – and allowing four baserunners in the second inning – he still managed to hold the Reds scoreless through four innings, before allowing two in the fifth on two walks and two singles. While his ability to keep the Reds off the board on a night when he clearly didn’t have his best stuff was admirable, it’s basically irrelevant in the end, as the Dodger offense once again failed to do any damage.

Bronson Arroyo breezed through six innings, running into trouble only in the fourth, when the Dodgers loaded the bases with none out on hits by Andre Ethier and Matt Kemp and a pitch that hit Jay Gibbons. Unfortunately for the Dodgers, Ethier and Kemp can’t let Tony Gwynn and crew come take their spots on the bases and then head back to the plate, because as usual, they received no support from their supporting cast. James Loney heroically drove in Ethier with a sacrifice fly, proving his clutchness, but Kemp got caught in a rundown and was tagged out. Dioner Navarro grounded out, and that was the end of that threat – and basically the game. The Dodgers had just two hits in the ensuing five innings against Arroyo, Logan Ondrusek, Nick Masset, and Francisco Cordero, and they both came from – wait for it – Ethier and Kemp. Shocking, I know; of the six Dodger hits, four came from the dynamic duo. The rest of the team combined to go 2-29, and stop me if you’ve heard that one before.

If there was one bright sign from tonight’s game, it was Scott Elbert, who was called in to a tough situation in the 7th, with a man on second and one out. He faced Joey Votto and Jay Bruce, two of the the hottest hitters on the planet right now, and retired them easily, striking out Votto and inducing Bruce into a popup.

It’s great to see Elbert finally having some major league success, for a variety of different reasons. It’s also kind of a problem when the highlight of the game is a middle reliever getting some outs. Well, at least we have the starting debut of Rubby De La Rosa to look forward to. Right?

Remember The Last Time Hiroki Kuroda Pitched in Cincinnati?

June 15, 2010 – “A Weird, Wet, Worrisome Win”. After pointing out how awesome it was that the team won 12-0 and that Rafael Furcal had five hits and two great defensive plays, we get into Hiroki Kuroda and Joe Torre:

Yet, all I can think about are the beyond perplexing and downright disturbing decisions by Joe Torre. Not to focus on the negative in what was otherwise a fun game, but his choices here could have a far-reaching impact on the future.

Remember, Billingsley’s been on the DL for about six hours, long enough for me to write a post discussing how close the Dodgers are to a full-blown rotation emergency. That means it should be fresh in your mind that above all else, you protect your remaining starters, because if anything happens to any of them, this club is in enormous trouble. So while it was disappointing that Hiroki Kuroda‘s outstanding start was interrupted by the rain on a night you’d hoped he could give you innings, you happily take your 6-0 lead and you toss out a Justin Miller, or a George Sherrill, or a Jeff Weaver, and you run them out there until their arms fall off, knowing that you’ll need your important arms later this week and that Travis Schlichting is on his way to Ohio tomorrow.

What you absolutely do not do, under any circumstances, is run your 35-year-old starter with a history of injuries back to the mound after he’d been down for well over 2.5 hours (the delay was 2:24, but the Dodgers were batting before and after).

So Kuroda went back out for the fifth, and predictably loaded the bases on two hits and a walk. He managed to get out of it without allowing a run, but not before needing 27 pitches to do so and nearly letting the Reds back into the game.

Letting Kuroda go back out, at an enormous risk, bought the Dodgers… well, what, exactly? He pitched just one inning after the delay, so the argument that Torre wanted to save the bullpen for this week’s gauntlet doesn’t fly. No, the most likely scenario is also the most terrifying one: Torre wanted Kuroda to qualify for the win. You know, a “win”, an utterly meaningless statistic, but even less meaningful to a manager whose only responsibility here should be to get his team out of this game without any major injuries.

It’s almost unspeakably reckless.

Kuroda, to his credit, held up fine after the game, but it doesn’t change the decision-making. I’ll say this: Don Mattingly hasn’t been perfect, but when you consider the ridiculous amount of injuries he’s had to deal with, I like him approximately 100000x times more than Torre. If not more.

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Today over at Reds blog Reds Reporter, I answered some Dodger questions. Fun comment section over there.

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Update: …and then there’s this from Ken Gurnick.

The Dodgers are expected to activate reliever Vicente Padilla from the disabled list Friday, but a corresponding move is not yet clear.

One possibility involves starter Jon Garland, who was not on the team flight out of Los Angeles on Thursday. If Garland is the one, it could mean a start for rookie Rubby De La Rosa, who has been used exclusively in relief since he was promoted, but has been and is considered a starting pitcher.

Earlier this week, we thought for sure it would be Ramon Troncoso, Javy Guerra, or Josh Lindblom going down for Padilla, but this is certainly news. Garland has been dealing with a blister problem, though I can’t say for sure if that’s the injury that would disable him here. Or, it could be nothing at all: Garland isn’t scheduled to pitch until Tuesday in Philadelphia. Not being on the flight could be little more than a personal issue that delays him for a day or two, with him meeting the team over the weekend or in Philadelphia on Monday.

Update 2: Okay, maybe Garland is going on the DL. About 50 seconds into this radio hit today, Ned Colletti says that “someone else is going on in the next 24 hours.”

Update 3: Tony Jackson all but confirms it. Garland to DL.