Who Had a Better Night?

Rubby De La Rosa, who not only was recalled to make his major league debut, but held a one run lead in the 8th by blowing away the heart of the Houston order in Hunter Pence, Carlos Lee, and Brett Wallace?

Jay Gibbons, who finally showed a pulse by hitting his first homer since 1972?

Javy Guerra, who notched his first major league save (the sixth Dodger this year with one) and helped avoid the total catastrophe that would have occurred had he blown another 9th inning lead the night after Kenley Jansen did?

Jerry Sands, who continued his ascent to stardom by hitting his first career grand slam, runs which were vital in a one run victory?

Chad Billingsley, who struck out nine and worked out of a bases loaded jam with only minor damage, and actually had the bullpen hang on to a lead for once?

Clearly, the answer is “none of the above”, and the winner of the night is actually us, for not having to suffer through Lance Cormier any more.

I’m joking (okay, only mostly), because after the events of this weekend and last night, this was a game the Dodgers absolutely had to have. I can’t remember ever feeling that a season was at a lower point than after Jansen coughed up the lead last night. The fact that tonight’s victory largely came on the back of the new wave of prospects – Sands, de la Rosa, and Guerra – only serves to make it sweeter, and though it’s just one game in a long season, it’s at least a positive step in the right direction.

Rained Out

Two innings of baseball were followed by more than two hours of rain delay, before the umpires finally took mercy upon us all and called it a night. That’s too bad for the Dodgers, because it wiped out the unlikeliest run the team will score all season – a Jon Garland single driving in Dioner Navarro, who had doubled. No makeup date announced, though I looked at the upcoming schedule and there’s really no good choices since the Dodgers don’t go back to Pittsburgh.

It’s almost too bad, because I spent much of the rain delay wondering just how hilarious this game might end up being if Garland was unable to return. The Dodger bullpen is already down a man with Blake Hawksworth injured, and Matt Guerrier was likely unavailable after pitching three of the previous four nights. It’s uncertain whether Vicente Padilla would have been available for a back-to-back appearance, which would have left seven innings or more to be sucked up by Lance Cormier, Scott Elbert, Mike MacDougal, and Kenley Jansen. Which: yikes.

Dodger Talk “Rain Delay Theater” was not without its uses, however, and I’m not just talking about the guy who wanted to bring back Milton Bradley or the guy who claimed to be a fan since 1948 yet wanted to know why the club was wearing a black #4 memorial patch.

In response to a question about why Elbert was recalled over Rubby De La Rosa, co-host Josh Suchon passed along a note from Ned Colletti saying that de la Rosa would be the next man in line if a starter were to go down, but that he’d likely not be recalled to join the bullpen. de la Rosa has been very good in Chattanooga, with a 44/12 K/BB ratio in 34.1 innings, but I imagine this is not to be taken as a blanket statement that isn’t subject to change. We can’t yet know what the circumstances will be the next time an extra starter will be needed. It could be next week, or it could be late August. It could be a spot start, or it could be a long-term opening. The Dodgers could still be hanging in the race, or they could be dead and buried, 15 games out. The point is, while it’s great that Colletti thinks that highly of de la Rosa, it’s still just as likely that we’ll see John Ely or Tim Redding the next time a starter is needed, depending on how things have played out at that point.