Hiroki Kuroda had one bad inning tonight, allowing hits to Miguel Montero and Geoff Blum to lead off the second before letting Brandon Allen make the most of his second plate appearance of the season by blasting a three-run homer to right. Kuroda allowed just two other hits, retiring the last nine he faced, but this year’s Dodgers aren’t built to withstand even one bad inning. With the exception of Matt Kemp‘s solo homer to lead off the second – Matt Kemp, still good at baseball – the only other threat came when Ian Kennedy walked Rafael Furcal with the bases loaded in the fifth. And thus ends the five-game winning streak, sinking the Dodgers back to ten games under .500.
Speaking of Furcal, Steve Dilbeck asked earlier today how long the Dodgers can wait for he and Juan Uribe to come around. It’s a fair question; each has been either injured, awful, or both all season long, and that was the case even before they combined to go 0-6 with just the aforementioned walk. Unfortunately, the options to replace them are slim; all you can do at this point is keep throwing them out there and pray that they bounce back. What else are you going to do? As awful as Uribe has been, there’s too much time and money left on his atrocious contract to consider it a sunk cost, and if he’s to regain any of his value he needs to be on the field. Furcal is a different case, since his time as a Dodger is almost certainly at an end; still, Dee Gordon clearly showed that he wasn’t ready, so it’s hard to argue that a change should be made there right now. If anything, as Jon Weisman noted in our video chat earlier, perhaps the club should stop minimizing Jamey Carroll.
Finally, Christopher Jackson of the Albuquerque Baseball Examiner relays the news that the Isotopes released catcher JD Closser to make room for A.J. Ellis. Under normal circumstances, an AAA club releasing a 31-year-old member of the Official Fraternity of Backup Catchers who hasn’t seen the bigs since 2006 is hardly noteworthy, but absent more info, it does seem to be an odd decision. As Jackson notes, Ellis seems almost certain to return to the Dodgers sooner than later when Rod Barajas or Dioner Navarro either re-injure themselves or finally wear out their welcomes with general awfulness.
When that happens, the Isotopes will be left with 28-year-old Damaso Espino (.297/.338/.398) and… well, I don’t know. Perhaps Matt Wallach or long-lost Hector Gimenez moves up from AA Chattanooga, and that’s fine, but the argument could easily have been made that Closser (.297/.378/.486 with 10 homers and by all accounts excellent in the clubhouse) is superior to Navarro right now.