Reds @ Dodgers July 4, 2012: Leake vs Harang

Finally, mercifully, the Dodgers placed Andre Ethier on the disabled list today rather than let him try to play through his oblique injury. Since he’s been out for so long already, he’s eligible to return immediately after the All-Star break, potentially setting up a scenario where Ethier & Matt Kemp make their comebacks in the same lineup.

Mark Ellis returns to the active roster, and his return so quickly after such a serious leg injury is nearly miraculous. His return immediately improves the defense – at least it will when he’s back in, as he’s available tonight but not starting – and if he can provide anything like the offense he’d been giving before, that’s a huge upgrade. I’d caution against seeing him as the piece that will suddenly turn the offense around, however; while a .373 OBP in 173 plate appearances mostly in front of Kemp is nice, it’s a small sample compared to 519 plate appearances of .288 OBP last year. If he can even settle at a happy medium between those two, that’ll be a positive.

As for the lineup that does take the field tonight, well, Aaron Harang better be on his game. Not only is A.J. Ellis getting the night off, so is Jerry Hairston, so Harang is backed by a group that includes James Loney at cleanup and four guys – Dee Gordon, Luis Cruz, Scott Van Slyke, & Matt Treanor – with career MLB OBP of .315 or lower.

Reds
Dodgers
SS
Cozart
SS
Gordon
CF
Stubbs
3B
Cruz
1B
Votto
LF
Abreu
2B
Phillips
1B
Loney
RF
Bruce
2B
Kennedy
LF
Ludwick
RF
Van Slyke
3B
Frazier
CF
Herrera
C
Mesoraco
C
Treanor
P
Leake
P
Harang

 

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