Mets @ Dodgers June 28, 2012: Young vs Capuano

Nearly lost in all the fun of the Yasiel Puig news is the fact that the Dodgers still have a game to play tonight, and they’ll likely have to do it without Andre Ethier, who almost certainly won’t be available due to a strained oblique. Interestingly, the club has delayed in placing him on the disabled list, calling up Scott Van Slyke and sending little-used Ivan De Jesus back to Albuquerque. While I think Alex Castellanos is probably the more big-league ready hitter, it’s understandable that the club would want him to continue his studies at second base for the Isotopes.

As for Ethier, well, I get wanting to wait for the results of his MRI. I’m just really, really hoping they’re not going to allow him to try to play through this. Oblique injuries almost always take weeks or longer to heal, and we’ve seen what happens when Ethier tries to play through injury in each of the last two years. Best case scenario, he plays poorly at less than full strength and hurts the team on the field; worst case, he injures himself more severely and is lost for the year. It just never ends well.

Mets
Dodgers
CF
Torres
SS
Gordon
SS
Tejada
3B
Herrera
3B
Wright
LF
Rivera
RF
Duda
1B
Loney
LF
Hairston
RF
Van Slyke
1B
Davis
2B
Kennedy
2B
Murphy
C
Treanor
C
Nickeas
CF
Gwynn
P
Dickey
P
Harang

Without Ethier, the Dodger lineup is beyond thin, especially with Elian Herrera continuing to turn back into the pumpkin that he was for nearly a decade in the minors. I mean, look at the lineup card to the right. That’s no typo, that’s James Loney hitting cleanup. The same guy who Don Mattingly couldn’t be bothered to start in San Francisco is now in a major run-producing spot.

In fact, they’ve been so bad in June – even with Ethier – that according to ESPN, they’re on the verge of being historically bad if they don’t pick it up against the Mets:

The Dodgers are hitting just .219 with an OPS of .590 in June, both of which would be their worst marks in the month over the last 90 seasons. They have hit just six home runs in 25 games, a rate of 0.24 homers per game that would be their lowest in June since they averaged 0.14 per game in 1946.

Can the Dodgers offense survive without their two main offensive stars? Consider that if Kemp and Ethier are out of the lineup, that leaves A.J. Ellis as the only Dodgers player with more than three home runs. Kemp and Ethier have combined to hit 22 homers this season; the rest of the team has hit just 22.

It might not get any easier; after facing Chris Young tonight, they have R.A. Dickey & Johan Santana on Friday & Saturday. This could be a long weekend.

******

In happier news, top prospect Zach Lee made a nice impression in his Double-A debut last night, going six innings while allowing one run on five hits, striking out seven with three walks. Many have asked if Lee’s quick promotion at age 20 to a Chattanooga team which already had a full rotation (and now that Chris Withrow was activated off the disabled list today, the Lookouts technically have seven starters) meant that the Dodgers are trying to showcase him in potential trades, and wondered if he should be considered “untouchable”. As I say every year, unless you have a slam-dunk mega-prospect like Mike Trout or Bryce Harper, I don’t think any prospect should be completely off-limits; there’s always a theoretical, if however unlikely, deal that makes sense. I have no problem with moving a prospect with value, as long as you get a proper return for them. As we saw with the Carlos Santana & James McDonald deals, the Dodgers have sometimes had trouble getting good value for their better prospects, and they won’t here either if Lee ends up going to Kansas City in a hypothetical trade for roster filler like Bruce Chen, Jeff Francoeur, & Yuniesky Betancourt. (Not that I really think such a thing is going to happen, of course.)

0 comments