Dodgers 6, Indians 4

The big story today was James McDonald. Joe Torre told us this morning that he was going to get a more serious look for the fifth starter’s spot, so serious that in order to stretch him out a little, they relegated Hiroki Kuroda to a Double-A game with Milwaukee to get his innings in today. McDonald responded with three hitless innings, facing the minimum nine batters, and with the qualifier that this could change in a heartbeat, I would have to surmise that he is now the FRONTRUNNER for the fifth spot. Torre wanted to get Shawn Estes some innings, too, so McDonald had to go to the bullpen to throw the rest of his pitches because he got through his three innings on so few. … Estes pitched well for two innings, then ran out of gas in the sixth. He’s become a longer and longer shot all the time. … Doug Mientkiewicz, who just returned last night from his quad injury, had a big day, going 3 for 4 with a double and a triple — although if the official scorer had been paying attention, he would have noticed that Mientkiewicz had stopped at second before going to third when the ball got loose, but it’s spring training so no one really cares. … Juan Castro went 2 for 2 with a double and is now hitting .459. … X Paul was 1 for 1 with a triple and is now hitting .409. … Russell Martin caught seven innings and hit his third home run of the spring, a two-run, game-tying shot off Jeremy Sowers in the seventh inning. Martin has nine RBI despite missing so much time for the WBC. … Brian Mazone got two outs without giving up a run and is now scoreless through six appearances and 5 1/3 innings. … Dodgers improve to 12-11.

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  • Old Brooklyn Fan

    I liked what I saw last night from Lindblom and McDonald sounded swell this afternoon, maybe we’ll have some real competition for the 5th spot, from here on out.

  • Brooklyn Dodger

    Old Brooklyn,

    I seriously doubt that Lindblom is being considered for the 5th spot in the rotation. Lindblom spent most of his college career in the bullpen, and pitched a limited number of innings last year after entering pro ball.

    It appears that the plan is for him to open the season as a starter at AA, giving him the opportunity to work on his secondary pitches (slider, splitter, change). It’s probably important to allow him to get innings in a less pressure packed environment, where he can gradually build up his arm strength. Lindblom is definitely an intriguing prospect, but without any pro experience as a starter, it would be a stretch to consider him to be a contender for the rotation at this stage of his career. I wouldn’t get too excited by a few spring training innings. I suspect that though he will probably be starting in the minors this year, it may well be that Lindblom will ultimately end up in the Dodgers bullpen. Although, unlike a number of people on this blog, I still have confidence in Jonathan Broxton, it might well be that he would have been better served in his development had he been limited to starting while in minors, which would have allowed him to more fully work on his secondary pitches (slider, splitter, change).

    McDonald on the other hand is an experienced minor league starter with a full repertoire of pitches, and appears ready to contend for a big league starting role.

  • Marcel

    BD,

    It’s a shame you didn’t get a chance to watch Lindblom on Friday night because he flashed three well-above average pitches (fastball, change and power curve), and despite his lack of pro experience, is very polished for his age.

    I agree that he needs to start the season in Double-A, but he’ll be up this year and soon.

  • GScott

    McDonald is WAY too exciting to ignore. Yes, his stats have been poor this spring but I believe all his work has been from out of the bullpen. As a former high school/college pitcher who went from starting to closing, I can tell you from experience that the way you warm up is EVERYTHING. If this guy is used to taking his time warming up, it’s going to take him a long time to adjust to hurried warm-ups in non-adrenaline games.