Dodgers @ Giants July 27, 2012 – Fife II: Fife Harder

As expected, the Dodgers today placed Scott Elbert on the disabled list with left elbow soreness, which either means that it’s conveniently lucky that this happened just as new lefty reliever¬†Randy Choate has joined the team… or it’s just an easy way to get Stephen Fife back up ahead of the ten-day rule to make this start now that Nathan Eovaldi is in the swamps of Southern Florida.

Fife was fine, I suppose, in his debut for the Dodgers earlier this month, though far from dominating and I have to admit that he isn’t exactly who I envisioned when I thought of the team marching into enemy territory to start a huge three-game set against Matt Cain and the Giants, who currently hold a three-game lead over the Dodgers. The fact that it’s even come to this indicates just how badly the Dodgers do need a starting pitcher, even with Ted Lilly supposedly on his way back, so whether that’s Ryan Dempster or Zack Greinke or James Shields or Josh Johnson or Jason Vargas or someone else – though probably not Matt Garza, who won’t start until after the deadline thanks to a triceps issue – it seems almost certain that this is Fife’s last turn in the rotation for a while.

Dodgers
Giants
LF
Hairston
RF
Schierholtz
2B
M.Ellis
2B
Theriot
CF
Kemp
LF
Cabrera
RF
Ethier
C
Posey
3B
Ramirez
CF
Pagan
1B
Loney
1B
Belt
SS
Cruz
3B
Arias
C
A.Ellis
SS
Crawford
P
Fife
P
Cain

By the way, earlier today I noted just how awful the Dodger lineup was just a month ago and how much better things have gotten since then. Keep that in mind as you look at the San Francisco infield that they’re throwing out in the lineup to the right. I’ve long been a huge Brandon Belt supporter, but he’s been struggling unbelievably lately; over his last 18 games (10 starts), he’s got just 4 hits in 55 plate appearances, with 22 strikeouts. I’m not sure what exactly they did to screw him up – other than insist on playing Aubrey Huff, I suppose – but man, is he fighting it right now. Then you’ve got Mr. TOOTBLAN himself, Ryan Theriot, and a left side of the infield both with OBPs under .300. I know Melky Cabrera & Buster Posey are awesome this year and that starting rotation is still fearsome, but with Pablo Sandoval hurt I just can’t see how this team can win with an offense like that.

In other news, something interesting about one of the few Dodger minor leaguers we haven’t heard mentioned in trade rumors this month, Steven Rodriguez. (We can’t, because as a 2012 draftee, he’s ineligible to be traded until next year.) We’d heard almost immediately that the lefty University of Florida alum was seen as someone who could potentially move quickly as a reliever, and after striking out 10 in his first six innings for the Low-A Great Lakes Loons, he’s been moved up to Double-A Chattanooga. Due to 40-man issues, I wouldn’t expect to see him soon, but it’s not out of the question he gets a cameo in September.

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