Dodgers Win, But Not All Is Well
Earlier in the afternoon, the Dodgers announced that Chad Billingsley would have Tommy John surgery on his right elbow after all. When Billingsley first went on the disabled list in August with pain in his right elbow, there was talk about him having the surgery.
The recovery time for pitchers from the surgery is 12 months, and even if the Dodgers had sent Billingsley under the knife he would have missed all of this season. Dodger trainer Sue Falsone said that they would give him the platelet-rich plasma injection therapy, see how he responds and make a decision by December or January at the latest so he would still be ready for 2014 spring training.
Since Billingsley looked like he took to the therapy well, the decision was made to avoid the surgery and proceed with the rehabilitation. Then we saw him pitch, his offspeed pitches needing the fortification of a prayer to be effective. It was clear that the player who had a 1.26 ERA (five earned runs on 35 2/3 innings) through five games last season before having to end his day early in his last start before the injury was not there anymore. Something was wrong.
So here we are. Billingsley is out until 2015 where the Dodgers hold the option on his contract. Zack Greinke is out for at least another month at best. Chris Capuano is out with a left calf strain. Ted Lilly is going to make his first start since May tomorrow. Aaron Harang was traded to Colorado who then traded him to Seattle.
The Dodgers are coming perilously close to the Angels rotation. They still have Clayton Kershaw. Ryu Hyun-Jin has shown to be competant. Josh Beckett has flashed a little bit of his brilliance from prior glory years. So it's not quite the abyss the Angels find themselves in, but it's getting close.
Meanwhile the Dodgers still had a game to play in Queens against the Mets, one in which they won 7-2. They could have breathed a sigh of relief with Clayton Kershaw on the mound. After retiring the first eight batters Kershaw walked opposing pitcher Robert Carson who came in relief of starter Jon Niese after Mark Ellis' shot up the middle caught his lowerer right leg. The Mets later disclosed that Niese, who like Billingsley grew up in Defiance, Ohio, suffered a leg contusion with MRIs coming back negative.
Kershaw also walked Ruben Tejada, and singles by Daniel Murphy and David Wright gave the Mets the 2-1 lead.
From that point on, the Mets made Kershaw labor who only made it through five innings on 111 pitches. But he wiggled out of all trouble and allowed only those two runs to score.
Amazingly enough it was the Dodger offense who saved the day, notably Mark Ellis. After tying the game in the fifth inning with a solo homer to left field off of Carson, his 100th home run of his career, Ellis his a three-run shot against Brandon Lyon in the seventh inning for his first multi-homer game since June 17, 2008. Incidentally the second home run he hit in that game was also against Brandon Lyon.
The other Ellis, A.J., added two runs in the eighth inning on a double that scored Adrian Gonzalez and A.J. Ellis.
I'm sure this was what a lot of fans had in mind when they thought of the offense. Sure the Dodgers left seven runners on base and were 4-for-13 with runners in scoring position. But what matters was that seven runs cross the plate for the Dodgers. This is what $200 million should buy you, and combined with their win in Baltimore on Sunday hopefully this is a trend in the right direction.
So it wasn't a great day for the Dodgers, but at least they got a win to salvage things. It surely wasn't a good day for pitchers from Defiance, Ohio.