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Jason Schmidt Makes a Start

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I sat at the Dodgers home opener on April 9, 2007 and watched Jason Schmidt pitch a horrible game. Just looking at the scoreboard after each pitch he made it was evident something was wrong. The velocity on his fastball was down. There was no way he could get the Colorado Rockies hitters to bite on a 80 mph change-up when his fastball was only clocking at 86 mph.

Even though Schmidt would hit a solo homer in that game after four innings he was done and so were the Dodgers. They lost 6-3. Schmidt would make several more starts in the season, but a stay on the disabled list was in his future.

On Saturday one of the first questions asked was who was going to be starting today. With Eric Milton out for the season with a cranky back, Eric Stults pitching well in AAA Albuquerque and Jeff Weaver and James McDonald as viable options, it was a pressing question.

Torre surprised the gathered media by announcing Schmidt would make the start. Yes a guy whose last start was June 16, 2007 and who has only gotten one win in six starts for the Dodgers will be taking the mound against the Cincinnati Reds.

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"We're going to see what we have," Torre said of his expectations of Schmidt. "Velocity wise we all know he's not what he once was. It seems that he's been able to pitch within his ability at this point. His experience in knowing how to pitch is something he's going to have to rely on."

Basically no one knows what we're going to see from Schmidt. He could be great, or he could be a total bust. However with a 7 1/2 game lead over the San Francisco Giants and owners of the best record in baseball, it's a good time as any to take a chance.

If Schmidt ends up pitching well, then that could solve the "fifth starter" enigma that's been hovering over the Dodgers since the start of the season. If Schmidt is a bust, then put him back on the shelf and keep looking for other options.

With a high price tag associated with Toronto Blue Jays ace Roy Halladay that could include Clayton Kershaw, Matt Kemp and prospects, it's best for the Dodgers to see what they have in the dusty attic before they start dealing.