Padres @ Dodgers July 15, 2012: Elbow Woes for Chad Billingsley

Hey, trying your best to forget last night’s Kenley Jansen brain fart disaster? Well, the Dodgers are here to help, because there is no shortage of news coming out of Dodger stadium right now.

Most importantly, you’ll probably notice that Chris Capuano is starting today’s game rather than the regularly scheduled Chad Billingsley, who was scratched with right elbow soreness and is headed for an MRI. According to Jimmy Bramlett of LAist, this is something that Billingsley has been dealing with for his last few starts, which may help explain some of his troubles.

Padres
Dodgers
RF
Denorfia
CF
Gwynn
2B
Forsythe
2B
M.Ellis
3B
Headley
RF
Ethier
LF
Quentin
LF
Abreu
1B
Alonso
1B
Loney
CF
Maybin
3B
Hairston
SS
Cabrera
SS
Uribe
C
Baker
C
Treanor
P
Marquis
P
Capuano

We don’t know what the results of Billingsley’s MRI might be, but I will say that it’s exceptionally rare that we see a pitcher get scratched because of pain in his throwing elbow and then come out of a MRI with a “nah, false alarm, all good,” and so with Ted Lilly still MIA, the Dodger rotation is suddenly in something of a bad spot. Nathan Eovaldi will start tomorrow, but Clayton Kershaw will remain on track to face Cliff Lee on Wednesday, so all of a sudden the Dodgers are without a Tuesday starter. (To face the returning Roy Halladay, of course.)

Before anyone says it, Tuesday’s starter is not going to be Ryan Dempster; not only is a trade for him being completed that quickly with ten teams reportedly after him unlikely, he also just started yesterday. That means – barring a “bullpen game” led by Jamey Wright, an idea so distasteful I don’t even want to think about it – we may be treated to the return of John Ely, who is having a surprisingly excellent season in Albuquerque. Unlike his Isotope rotation mate Stephen Fife, Ely is not on the 40-man roster, though room could easily be made by moving Todd Coffey to the 60-day disabled list. It’s not fair to speculate until we know the extent of Billingsley’s injury, but I’m terrified that this is going to turn what may have been a reasonable deal for Dempster into a trade that we all hate. And while it’s not popular to say it, I have to be honest once again: should a team that might have 60% of their rotation made up of Eovaldi, Ely, & Aaron Harang along with at least three giant holes in the offense really be going for it like they’re perfectly situated for a championship?

As for who is playing today, what’s notable is that Matt Kemp is out of the lineup – a regularly scheduled day off, we’re assured, which I suppose makes sense given how much time he just missed – and Juan Uribe is in, but playing shortstop. This will be his third start there as a Dodger and first since May 4, 2011, though he has made 870 of his career 1279 starts at the position for the Rockies, White Sox, Giants, & Dodgers. I don’t mind the idea, actually, since you can’t play Luis Cruz every day (ideally, you shouldn’t be playing Luis Cruz any day) and I have little faith in Jerry Hairston to play the position.

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