With apologies to the impressive debut of Nathan Eovaldi, which we’ll get to in a second, just about everything else that happened tonight was nearly overshadowed by the seemingly serious injury suffered by shortstop Dee Gordon on a third inning rundown. As the Dodgers play out the string in 2011, few things are more important than seeing if Gordon can handle the position full-time in 2012, and with fans already reeling from Rubby De La Rosa‘s elbow injury and the trade of Trayvon Robinson in the last week, another blow to the team’s young core might just be the gut punch that pushes us over the edge. As Gordon lay in pain on the ground, we could be forgiven for thinking the worst. What if Gordon was out for the season? What would that mean for 2012? If he required surgery on his throwing arm, what would that do to his superior arm strength? Would this be the excuse Ned Colletti has been waiting for to bring Juan Castro out of retirement? Call it fatalistic if you must, but after all we’ve seen this year, a serious injury to another top prospect at this point would be less “ugh, that’s disappointing” and more “he’s hurt? You know what? Of course he is.” Fortunately for our collective sanity, initial tests ruled out a dislocation or separation, and though Gordon won’t play on Sunday, he’s not likely to head to the disabled list, thus avoiding blue-tinged mass suicides across the nation. (Gordon took to Twitter following the game to claim he wasn’t seriously hurt, as well.)
Back to Eovaldi, he was a winner in his big league debut despite throwing 30 pitches in a second inning that saw him allow two walks and two singles, the final one coming off the bat of pitcher Joe Saunders, which scored the first two Arizona runs. The two walks and two runs were the only of either he allowed in his five frames, while striking out seven. As Eric Stephen of TrueBlueLA notes, the seven strikeouts were tied for fourth-most in a debut by a Dodger starter since they moved to Los Angeles, matched by Clayton Kershaw, Hideo Nomo, and Don Sutton – three names who had or are having pretty solid careers in blue. (Kaz Ishii, Pedro Astacio, and Eric Gagne were the three who had more, and volumes could be written about their ups and downs as Dodgers.)
If anything, the second-inning struggles of Eovaldi made the following innings seem even better, as he could have easily let the game get away from him as the baserunners piled up. After getting Willie Bloomquist to fly out to end the second, he retired eight of the remaining ten hitters he saw, allowing two harmless singles. All in all, things couldn’t really have gone better for the newest Dodger.
Speaking of Robinson, you probably saw he made a fantastic catch in his Seattle debut on Friday. How’d he follow that in his second game?
(Yeah, that was supposed to be an animation of the homer, just like I had of the catch. Unfortunately, that’s pretty difficult to do when once again, Time Warner has decided that having reliable service is beyond their capabilities, so video isn’t doable right now. The point is, Robinson is off to a great start, TWC continues to suck, and this trade isn’t looking any better right now than it did when it happened.)