Here’s the notebook top I just filed for tomorrow’s paper on Schmidt’s outing today No action so far in the game. Dodgers have gone four up, four down after scoring 10 runs on 16 hits last night. Dodgers 0, Nats 0, top 2
WASHINGTON — Jason Schmidt blew away the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes for six innings on Wednesday, including rehabbing Angels outfielder Garret Anderson twice. Along the way, the right-hander blew away expectations in the first start of his own minor-league rehabilitation assignment with the Dodgers’ Single-A Inland Empire affiliate, taking a giant leap toward returning to the big club.
The only question is whether he is ready to return now.
“I think there is some possibility, but it’s too premature for us to say that strongly,” said Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti, who was at the game in San Bernardino along with trainer Stan Conte. “But I wouldn’t rule it out, either.”
Schmidt pitched six shoutout innings, allowing two hits and a walk while striking out seven. But his velocity, which was noticeably down even before he went onto the disabled list April 17 with bursitis in his shoulder, still wasn’t where it historically has been. His 71 pitches consistently fell between 88-91 mph and topped out at 92.
Not that anyone is terribly alarmed by that.
“You can pitch and be successful at 88-91,” Colletti said. “He can command four pitches. He might have to change the eye level and change the bat speed. But it’s not like he has always been a power pitcher who lives and dies with one pitch.”
Schmidt will throw a side session on Friday, probably with the major-league team in Pittsburgh, after which there should be a much clearer picture of what happens next. He could make another start for Inland Empire, or he could make another start with a higher Dodgers affiliate, or he could return to the Dodgers’ starting rotation sometime in the next week.
Manager Grady Little seemed to dismiss that notion.
“I think he’ll have to build up to a certain point before he takes the rubber for us,” Little said. “That is just my personal opinion, but we’ll talk about it.”
Except that Furcal, as Grady promised, is back in the leadoff spot against Nats lefty Mike Bacsik. Other than that, no reason to change after scoring 10 runs on 16 hits last night. That means Abreu is back in at third.
SS Furcal — 14gm hitting streak
1B Nomar — hitting .442 w/RISP
LF Gonzo — 7gm hitting streak, 10-25
C Martin — hitting .426 w/RISP
3B Abreu — hitting .313 in six ML games
Hotter than blazes here in the District. Throw in the humidity, and it’s like a sauna every time you walk out of your hotel here — although this wretched press box at RFK is like a meat locker. I always forget how much people who live in humid climates LOVE air conditioning. Several of the Dodgers players visited wounded soldiers at Walter Reed Medical Center today, and a group is going to tour the Pentagon tomorrow.
Juan Pierre went 4 for 5 with a triple and three doubles. If you’re counting, that’s nine total bases. It marked the first time in his career he has had four extra-base hits in a game. Penny pitched another masterpiece, 6 1/3 shutout innings, although the Dodgers’ six-run seventh, in which Penny doubled and actually had to run the bases, appeared to gas him a little. He lasted just three hitters into the bottom of that inning. Furcal doubled in the eighth, his final at-bat, to extend his hitting streak to 14 games. Dodgers go to 30-21. The Pods lose, so the Dodgers are back in first place alone, a game ahead of San Diego. But Arizona is leading Philly by six in the ninth, so the Snakes will stay just a half-game back in second. … A couple of us went to the upper deck and sat in a section that was almost empty — which makes it all the more curious why a group of drunk, obnoxious and apparently underaged fans couldn’t find anyplace better to sit than two rows directly behind us for about seven innings. Is this what the ticket-buying public normally deals with at the ballpark? We never complained (except to each other, under our breath), but security still visited them at least twice. Not sure why. Oh, well, they probably won’t be there tomorrow (we hope).
This place is so bad that you can’t even see the game from the second row of the press box. Thus, I always watch the games here from the sparsely populated upper deck, where I’m about to head at the end of the first inning, so I won’t be posting in-game updates the way I usually do because my computer will be here at my seat in the press box, and I won’t be. I’ll try to post afer the game at some point. … OK, here’s one: Juan Pierre led off with a triple that barely missed bouncing over the wall for a groundrule double, and he might not have scored from second on Nomar Garciaparra’s one-out single. But he was on third, so he did score. Nomar and Kent combined to make Jason Simontacchi throw two pitches. Kent followed Nomar’s first-pitch single with a first-pitch GIDP to end the inning. Dodgers 1, Nationals 0, bottom 1
And Gonzo moves back to fifth, with Martin sixth.
CF Pierre — .343 lifetime avg. vs. Nats
SS Furcal — 14gm hit streak
C Martin — one of six ML catchers batting .300 or better