From the second inning on, Cincinnati starter Mike Leake was absolutely dominant, allowing just two Dodger hits over his final six frames. Unfortunately for Leake, the first inning counts too, and a leadoff double by Dee Gordon followed by three consecutive singles and a Zack Cozart throwing error put three Dodger runs on the board. That’s all Aaron Harang would need against his old mates, allowing only a Devin Mesoraco solo homer to spoil an otherwise solid seven innings in front of a holiday crowd of over 40,000.
Not to shortchange Harang for his good work, but unfortunately I think we all know that’s not what the story of this game is going to be. Gordon led off against Bray in the eighth with a walk, then stole second. On ball four to Luis Cruz, he stole third as well, but was immediately replaced by Mark Ellis. While that seemed like a nice opportunity to get the returning Ellis a standing ovation, it quickly became clear that Gordon had injured his hand or finger while sliding into Cincinnati third baseman Todd Frazier or the base itself.
The lesson, as always, is that sliding head first is incredibly dangerous, and I’ll never understand why players insist on doing it all the time; though I can’t seem to find it right now, I’m almost positive I’ve called Gordon out for that here before. Replays looked to indicate that Gordon’s thumb may have been bent awkwardly, and while we don’t have a prognosis yet, I have to admit that it didn’t look good. If it’s broken, that’s probably at least six weeks.
If Gordon is hurt – and again, we don’t know the extent yet – all I can do is just throw my hands up and laugh. You think that things are finally getting better, that Ellis is back, that Matt Kemp & Javy Guerra are close, that even Andre Ethier‘s oblique injury isn’t as bad as it could have been… and now in the span of three days you’ve see Juan Uribe twist an ankle, Todd Coffey lost for the season with Tommy John surgery, and whatever Gordon did to himself tonight. If Gordon does hit the DL, that means that the only Dodger starters from the Opening Day lineup who survived the first half of the season were A.J. Ellis & James Loney. It’d be funny if it weren’t so absolutely absurd.
If Gordon is out, that means your shortstop situation is some combination of Elian Herrera & Cruz, assuming Uribe & Jerry Hairston aren’t really considered options there. Since I’m guessing 98% of Dodger fans hadn’t heard of either one on May 1, that’s a pretty bad situation, despite the surprisingly vocal contingent of Cruz fans, which leads to hilarious retorts like this:
— Kyle McCarty (@kylemccarty25) July 5, 2012
While you can argue that Gordon had been poor and being without him isn’t a huge blow, it does throw another wrench into this team’s plans. With tonight’s win, they moved back into first place in the NL West, so they’re unquestionably buyers. But they may need a shortstop now. And a third baseman, since Uribe is awful. And a first baseman, since Loney is awful. And a left fielder, since neither Bobby Abreu nor Herrera is looking anything like they did in May. And a starting pitcher, since Nathan Eovaldi is struggling and Ted Lilly isn’t close to returning. How do you fill all those holes? But when you’re in contention, how do you not?
I’ll say this: for a team which has been really, really boring to watch recently, they’re managing to keep things incredibly interesting.
(Update: Eric Stephen reports Gordon’s thumb is dislocated, but not broken. He’ll have an MRI tomorrow.)