The Dodgers pulled out a great come from behind win Friday night when Russ Mitchell hit a 2 out home run in the bottom of the ninth to tie the game, then won it in the 10th on a Juan Castro flare just over first baseman Paul Konerko. Yet even in the win the already injury decimated Dodgers suffered a loss. Juan Uribe left the game in the 6th inning with a strained left hip flexor muscle. Don Mattingly could not elaborate on how long the Dodgers would be without Uribe’s services, but regardless the Dodgers are not in a position to survive more injuries. Uribe was not in the lineup on Saturday, and he joined Aaron Miles who is also sidelined with a rib injury. Like Uribe, there is no timetable for his return or the severity of the injury, but Mitchell and Castro look to be the beneficiaries of more playing time if Miles and Uribe’s injuries linger. This on the heels of Vicente Padilla being sent to the DL, again, with lingering effects from the injury to his forearm that kept him off of the opening day roster and on the DL. Ramon Troncoso is back with the Dodgers filling in for Padilla. So far so good for Troncoso, he has appeared twice since his recall and has not allowed a run in three and a third innings pitched.
Another bright spot for the Dodgers has been the young trio of flame throwing bullpen arms Kenley Jansen, Scott Elbert and Javy Guerra. Since his brief demotion to AA, Jansen has pitched like the dominant reliever Dodger fans enjoyed watching at the end of 2010. Jansen has not allowed a run in his last 10 appearances dating back to April 22nd. During the stretch he has thrown 10 an two-thirds innings striking out 18 batters and only allowing 3 hits. He has also cut down on his walks only issuing 4 during his current scoreless stretch. He was rewarded with a win Friday night after throwing two scoreless innings.
Elbert has looked like a completely different pitchers since he was recalled. He has pitched with confidence, consistently pitching ahead in the count, and getting batters out in a variety of ways. While he has only made 4 appearances, he has only allowed 1 hit and no walks pitching 2 and two-thirds innings, and striking out five during that span. He was called on last night to pitch in the bottom of the 10th with runners on second and third and one out, and retired Adam Dunn, before giving way to Mike MacDougal who earned the save.
Finally Guerra has also impressed during his stint with the Dodgers. He has also yet to allow a run in his three appearances only allowing 2 hits and no walks while striking out three. He has also displayed great control of his mid to high 90’s fastball which regularly hits 96 to 97 MPH. While the youngsters are sure to experience their fair share of struggles they offer the Dodgers a solid trio of power arms, which are a significant improvement over soft tossing, run allowing Lance Cormier, who has been nothing but hittable and has allowed runs at an alarming rate. He gave up two more runs yesterday in two innings of work, but to demonstrate how bad he has been, he actually lowered his ERA which is now below 10 for the season. When everyone gets healthy and the Dodgers are forced to make so moves, it seems like a no-brainer that the youngsters be kept and Cormier sent on his way. Surely he would clear waivers and could go to AAA, if he would accept the assignment, but there is simply no reason to keep an innefective Cormier regardless of the supposed role he fills of being the blowout sacrificial lamb, when you have young power arms who actually get people out.
The Dodgers dropped game two to the White Sox Saturday as Jon Garland was knocked around by his former club. About the only good news to come out of the game was Jerry Sands hitting his first career home run. Sands has been a different hitter according to Don Mattingly, than the guy who impressed so much in spring training and AAA. A good sign for Sands is that he pulled his home run, rather than going to right field, something Mattingly thinks Sands is trying to do too much of which has gotten him out of his comfort zone.
The Dogers will try to win the series today as they welcome back Rafael Furcal to the lineup to face fromer Dodger phenom Edwin Jackson. Jackson appreared to be headed for stardom when the 20 year old out dueled Randy Johnson in his major league debut. However his time in LA would be brief as he was traded to Tampa Bay for 2 journeymen relievers, as the Dodgers chasing a playoff berth tried to shore up their bullpen. Neither reliever lasted long with the Dodgers and yet another talented young prospect got away from the club.
As the Dodgers welcome back Furcal, they may be losing yet another starter to the DL. Following a cruel season long trend of having yet another key injury at the same time as someone gets healthy. This time it looks like its Juan Uribe’s turn to make an appearance on the DL, and while his bat has yet to get going, the club will definitely miss his solid defense and versatility to play several infield positions.
At some point the Dodgers will get healthy and hopefully field their proposed opening day starting lineup. Let’s hope so cause if not we may see another prized prospect shipped off for a veteran who is nothing more than a stop gap trying to fill an injury created void. And judging by how innefective this strategy has been, Carlos Santana anyone, I’m sure I’m not alone in hoping it doesn’t happen again anytime soon.
As I travel back from seeing U2 perform in Denver last night, be sure to check back later tonight to check out the great footage I captured from about 20 feeet from the stage. Bono, The Edge and the boys were in fine form last night, let’s hope we can say the same thing about the Dodgers against the White Sox today.