Dodgers’ rotation is set up for Chris Capuano (or Stephen Fife) to start September 1.

Chris Capuano

Chris Capuano is 4-6 with a 4.70 earned-run average in 19 games (17 starts) this season for the Dodgers. (Associated Press photo)

The Dodgers have an off-day in their schedule next Thursday. It’s a chance for Don Mattingly to reset his rotation by skipping Chris Capuano‘s scheduled turn Aug. 31 and having Zack Greinke start against the San Diego Padres instead.

Instead, the manager said he’ll give his starters an extra day of rest.

“We traditionally try to use those days to get guys pitching on their sixth day so everybody gets an extra day,” Mattingly said. “especially this time of year as you get into August. We have no plans of skipping anybody at this point.”
Continue reading

Daily Distractions: Maybe the Dodgers don’t need to make any trades.

Dodgers Red Sox trade

Last year it was Josh Beckett, Adrian Gonzalez and Nick Punto. Who will be on a plane to Los Angeles this year?

OK. Time for some numbers.

In July, the Dodgers’ pitching staff has been among the best in the National League in terms of ERA, fielding-independnt pitching (FIP) and batting average against, and they’re getting more run support.

Throw in their MLB-best 18-5 record this month, and the Dodgers look like baseball’s least likely team to acquire a major-league player at the trade deadline. There aren’t any bombshells on the horizon this year, unlike a year ago, when Dodger Stadium was hailing firebombs full of big-name acquisitions.

There is usually room for at least a minor upgrade, of course, and general manager Ned Colletti has mentioned the bullpen as a possible area for improvement. While Carlos Marmol has underwhelmed since becoming a Dodger, number-five starter Stephen Fife can return from his rehab assignment this weekend (his turn comes around Saturday), meaning incumbent number-five starter Chris Capuano could go to the bullpen as a long reliever. That could be the upgrade Colletti aims for.

The Atlanta Braves took one veteran reliever off the market Monday morning, acquiring Scott Downs from the Angels. Other contenders are in the market for relievers too, teams that are probably more hungry for relief pitching than the Dodgers.

For now, at least. Like last year, the horizon is farther away than it looks. The Adrian Gonzalez/Carl Crawford/Josh Beckett/Nick Punto trade didn’t go down until August 25 of last year. Joe Blanton became a Dodger on August 3.

Inevitably, some deals are being discussed right now that will fizzle, some will go down before 1 p.m. Wednesday, and others won’t be consummated until August. So we won’t really know what team the Dodgers are taking into September until September, though it will probably look a lot like this one.

Some bullet points for a Global Tiger Day:
Continue reading

Suddenly, the Dodgers are out of long relievers.

Matt Guerrier

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.”

Continue reading

Chad Billingsley to have Tommy John surgery tomorrow.

Chad BillingsleyChad Billingsley will undergo Tommy John surgery tomorrow, leaving the Dodgers without their fifth starter for the remainder of this season and likely part of 2014.

Team physician Dr. Neal ElAttrache will perform the surgery at the Kerlan Jobe Orthopedic Clinic in Los Angeles.

Billingsley elected to undergo PRP (platelet-rich plasma) injections and rehabilitation after partially tearing the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow last August. He pitched without pain throughout the winter and into spring training until he developed elbow pain during a bullpen session four days ago. An MRI confirmed an injury to the ligament.
Continue reading

Dodgers will start Stephen Fife in place of Zack Greinke against Mexico.

The Dodgers scratched Zack Greinke from his scheduled start against Team Mexico on Wednesday with a cold. Stephen Fife, who was originally scheduled to throw in relief in Goodyear against the Cleveland Indians, will instead start the exhibition game at Camelback Ranch in Glendale.

Manager Don Mattingly said in his pregame discussion that he was hoping Greinke’s illness was only a cold, but a flu has been going around the room. Pitcher Ted Lilly just returned after missing two days with a flu. Pitcher Paco Rodriguez caught it and didn’t report today. Zack Greinke reported but was apparently deemed not healthy enough to start.

 

Chicago White Sox 9, Dodgers 0: Postgame thoughts.

The Dodgers’ first game of spring training served a valuable purpose for everyone who watched it unfold on a cold day at Camelback Ranch: It reminded us that in spring training, the whole is always less than the sum of its parts.

We hope you took the under on Dodgers runs scored; more than that, we hope you don’t bet on Cactus League games. The Dodgers had their chances to score, and their bats picked up after Juan Uribe ruined Chicago’s chance at a perfect game with a single in the third inning. That sentence may never be written again.

Here are a few takeaways:

Continue reading

Dodgers spring training preview: Starting pitchers.

Hyun-Jin RyuForget having the best 1-2 starting combination in baseball. Ned Colletti clearly intended to put together the majors’ best 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8 staff this winter.

Mission accomplished.

When the Dodgers pitchers and catchers report to camp Tuesday, they present a puzzling situation that only time can solve. Chad Billingsley hopes time can heal the torn ligament in his elbow, not season-ending Tommy John surgery. Ted Lilly hopes he can pitch like a legitimate fifth starter, having not pitched in the majors since last May because of injuries. He, Chris Capuano and Aaron Harang may have to hope that Colletti can find a desirable destination for their talents outside of L.A.

If healthy, it’s hard to imagine this group staying together. Otherwise, the Dodgers are left with the first eight-man rotation in major-league history, and wouldn’t that be an interesting outcome to what promises to be an interesting camp.

Continue reading

When will Clayton Kershaw make his next start?

Clayton Kershaw is tentatively scheduled to start Wednesday on regular rest in the Dodgers’ regular-season finale against the Giants, but nobody truly knows when he’ll pitch next.

Will it be this season? Next season? In the regular season? In the playoffs?

Truth is, nobody knows, and Dodgers manager Don Mattingly wasn’t even in the mood for giving hints Saturday afternoon.

“We haven’t really crossed that bridge yet,” Mattingly said. “I hope it’s not a decision at all. I hope he’s needed to pitch.”

There’s only three scenarios under which it’s not a decision:

Continue reading