This conference on the mound in the fourth inning didn’t help Josh Beckett (third from right). It merely delayed the inevitable in the Dodgers’ 7-3 loss to the Colorado Rockies, a game that lasted 3 hours, 54 minutes. (John McCoy/Staff Photographer)
You got the sense that Josh Beckett could live with the smaller strike zone imposed by home plate umpire Larry Vanover tonight. Beckett could even live with the three runs he allowed in the first inning, maybe because he didn’t want to throw his shortstop, Hanley Ramirez, under the bus for committing an error that left him pitching out of the stretch one batter into the game.
No, there were other things happened tonight specifically, and this season in general, that Beckett has not made peace with.
It came as little surprise when the Dodgers recalled pitcher Javy Guerra from Triple-A Albuquerque on Tuesday.
Guerra was sent down late in spring training to pitch as a starter at Albuquerque. By his fourth start, he got stretched out to five innings and 75 pitches. The Dodgers needed a reliever who could pitch more than one inning after seeing Josh Wall — Albuquerque’s closer to begin the season — struggle in the long reliever role Monday.
Wall and Guerra swapped places Tuesday, and Guerra returned to a familiar building.
Well, mostly familiar. Once you walk down the tunnel leading into the home clubhouse area, things look a little different inside Dodger Stadium than they did last year.
Matt Guerrier allowed two home runs in relief of Matt Magill on Saturday night, further depleting a short-handed Dodgers bullpen. (Associated Press photo)
For all the money the Dodgers have spent building their 2013 roster — about $230 million when the regular season began — they didn’t have a single pitcher available if last night’s game against the Milwaukee Brewers had gone to the 12th inning.
That’s not exactly unusual. If taxed enough, any bullpen will run out of arms. The Dodgers didn’t even get to the 10th inning yesterday, but manager Don Mattingly had to line up his possibilities when the Dodgers had runners on second and third base with two outs in the ninth inning.
“I’ve got to bring Josh (Wall) back out” for the 10th inning, Mattingly said. “I’ve got one (inning) with Kenley (Jansen). Then it’s Schu.”
Two members of the Dodgers’ 2011-12 relief corps, Josh Lindblom and Javy Guerrra, started against each other in a Triple-A game Friday night.
Lindblom allowed three runs in 6 2/3 innings for the Round Rock Express and won. The right-hander, now a member of the Texas Rangers’ organization, has been converted to a starter.
Guerra allowed four runs (two earned) in five innings for the Albuquerque Isotopes and was the ‘Topes pitcher of record in the 4-3 loss. The box score is here.
The Dodgers don’t plan to convert Guerra exclusively to a starter’s role. General manager Ned Colletti said via text message Friday that they’re stretching him out and having him throw four pitches to give the team the option of using him as a starter, long man, or short reliever.
Full disclosure: I picked the Pittsburgh Pirates to finish third, ahead of St. Louis and Chicago, in the National League Central this year. Can’t take it back. It happened.
One week later, I found myself using the quality of the Dodgers’ weekend opponent as some sort of asterisk in a game story after the Bucs were swept out of Dodger Stadium. That’s what happens when you can recite stats like these:
Six games into the season, NL pitchers are hitting .138/.180/.198. The Pirates are hitting .119/.188/.159.