Few things to discuss today in the Lair. First off, a big tip of the hat to Hiroki Kuroda and his 8 innings of shutout baseball on Thursday night to defeat the Mets 2-0. I told you guys not to panic about his brief struggles! What’s interesting is with the trade deadline only a week away and the Dodgers rumored to be after practically every starting pitcher on the market, they instead were gifted with three dominant performances in a row by Kershaw, Billingsley, and Kuroda. Coupled with the dominant return of Vicente Padilla from the DL, the Blue Crew has a pretty reliable top 4 in the rotation. Adding one more guy to the mix to replace John Ely (who’s performed admirably) would give the team a chance to win every night.
Second, another shout out to the other-worldly Hong Chih-Kuo. Coming off elbow surgery, the staff has been careful with his workload and prevented him from pitching on consecutive days thus far. It’s worked wonders and Kuo was actually handed the ball in the ninth over Jonathan Broxton to close out the Mets on Friday. Kuo, surging with confidence, has even told management that it’s time to take the shackles off him and let him pitch more often. I don’t think you’ll hear Joe Torre arguing vociferously on this one.
Next, the Dodgers have called up flame-throwing converted infielder and now reliever Kenley Jansen from double A where he flummoxed minor league hitters with his 100+ mph heat to the tune of 50 K’s in a measly 27 innings pitched. Jansen is undoubtedly raw and still developing as a pitcher, but the team couldn’t resist using his power arm to help the team down the stretch. Can’t really argue with them, either. Anything’s better than calling up Jack Taschner. To make room on the roster, LA designated P Justin Miller for assignment.
Finally, it’s been written that the Dodgers actually have extra money to play with in the trade market. The team will be freed of 33 million in salary commitment after the year, due to the impending free agency of Manny Ramirez and Hiroki Kuroda. While names like Roy Oswalt and Dan Haren litter the rumor mill, the savviest potential acquisition would be SP Fausto Carmona from the Indians. Carmona is a young, innings-eating power arm who’s struggled badly the last couple of years, but has turned things around big-time in 2010. The fact that more marketable, veteran arms are also available could help the Dodgers acquire him for relatively cheap. If I were Ned Colletti, I’d insist to GM Mark Shapiro that he owes me one after I gave him his future face of the franchise, Carlos Santana, for practically peanuts.