Chad Billingsley pitched his second career complete game and first career shutout, and the Dodgers shut out their opponents for the fourth time in the past five games and the 10th time this season, tops in the National League. Now, it’s on to the showdown, a four-game set with the Snakes beginning tomorrow night. The Dodgers go to 54-53, their first time above .500 since May 27, when they were 26-25. They still trail the Snakes by one game, and that will absolutely, positively change, one way or the other, tomorrow night. … Matt Kemp extended his hitting streak to 17 games, longest by a Dodgers player since Nomar’s 22-gamer June 16-July 13, 2006. … Billingsley is now 7-2 with a 2.60 ERA over his past nine starts.
Hey, it worked once, so why not try it again? This is in no way a probability, from what I understand, but it IS a definite POSSIBILITY. We’ll know by 1 o’clock tomorrow, so stay tuned. This is what I just filed for tomorrow’s paper.
By Tony Jackson
With baseball’s annual non-waiver trading deadline looming at 1 p.m. today, the Dodgers might delve into their not-too-distant past in an attempt to upgrade their already-solid starting rotation. Although no deal was believed to be imminent as of game time on Wednesday night, the San Diego Padres seemed desperate to unload veteran Greg Maddux, with the Dodgers apparently the only possible club to which the four-time Cy Young Award winner, career 351-game winner and future Hall of Famer would be dealt.
The Dodgers acquired Maddux from the Chicago Cubs two years ago today. He responded by going 6-3 with a 3.30 ERA in 12 starts, helping the Dodgers to the National League wild card.
The Dodgers are said to have some interest in Maddux, but acquiring him probably would make the Dodgers responsible for the remainder of Maddux’s $10 million salary, which would come to about $3.3 million. Thus, a trade could depend on owner Frank McCourt’s willingness to add to his payroll. But such a deal probably wouldn’t require the Dodgers to give up a frontline big-league player or prospect because of the Padres’ eagerness to unload Maddux.
Playing in the Dodgers’ favor is the fact Maddux has an unlimited no-trade clause in his contract and doesn’t want to leave the West Coast.
“His position really hasn’t changed,” Padres general manager Kevin Towers told the San Diego Union-Tribune. “He only wants us to focus on West Coast, contending clubs. That kind of eliminates our options, other than one club.”
Actually, it also leaves the Angels as a possibility, but they don’t need starting pitching. And Maddux, who has spent his entire, 23-year career in the N.L., presumably isn’t interested in changing leagues at this point.
Maddux, 42, isn’t having his typical season. He is 4-8 with a 4.29 ERA and went a career-worst 14 consecutive starts without winning, a drought that ended on Monday night against Arizona. But his lack of success this season can largely be blamed on the fact he plays for a subpar club that entered the day 24 games below .500. The Padres have scored a total of 15 runs in Maddux’s eight losses this season.
Maddux would potentially bolster a rotation that presently includes Chad Billingsley, Derek Lowe, Clayton Kershaw, Hiroki Kuroda and Jason Johnson, with two-time All-Star Brad Penny due off the disabled list in the next week or so.
It doesn’t appear that the Dodgers will be able to acquire a shortstop — a position general manager Ned Colletti has identified as high on the club’s wish list — before today’s deadline. However, once the deadline passes, almost every player in the majors will be waived, and those who are claimed by other clubs will simply be pulled off waivers by their current clubs. Any player who clears waivers without being claimed can still be traded until Aug. 31.
Lefty going for the Giants tonight, so I’m sure that’s why.