Never mind that Vicente Padilla started on Opening Day. That was just (you choose): (a) a senior moment by Joe Torre; (b) a passive-aggressive shot by Torre to Dodger management that” if you don’t get me better pitchers, I’ll start a guy like this;” or (c) just a dumbass move.
Here’s the deal. Vicente Padilla is who we thought he was! He is a guy who has 98 wins and 86 losses for his career with a 4.36 ERA. He is who we thought he was. He is a guy who (in a good year) will win 14-15 games with a 3.50 to 4.50 ERA. He is who we thought he was. In a bad year, he might go 9-12 or 6-10 with a 4.50 to 5.50 ERA. He is who we thought he was. In other words, he’s a typical number 4 or number 5 starter.
Actually, I’d like to think of him as our number five starter, because I believe that if Joe Torre gives Charlie Haeger the ball every 5 days, he will win 13-15 games and pitch 200 innings with a sub 4.00 ERA. That’s a number 4!
How stupid is it to start your Number 5 starter on Opening Day? That’s a rhetorical Question…
I was watching the MLB Network and when asked if the Dodgers should have traded for an ace, Tom Verducci said they already have one on the roster (meaning Kershaw). While that is probably true, the bigger question is whether it will happen this year. With a couple of new pitches and more maturity, it could happen as soon as TODAY. Clayton’s start against the Pirates will give us a preview of whether he might be ready to take the next step. Whether he pitches a No-Hitter or gets shelled today will not give us the entire answer, but it will give us an idea is Clayton Kershaw is ready to be our ACE! I think he is who we though he was!
I noticed Billingsley’s mechanics were much smoother at Spring Training, but Verducci broke them down even more and you can see that last year he was flying open and falling towards 1B, as much as 3 feet. This year he is much smoother and actually ending up about 3-4 feet from where he was last year. Mechanically he looks very sound, and if you look back on Billingsley, he has had one bad half of a season in 3 and a half seasons! Yet, everyone only seems to remember his struggles last year. Three seasons of excellent work and one bad half season… and all we remember is that bad half season? How stupid is that?
Chad is 47-30 in his career with a career 3.55 ERA. Chris Carpenter has a career 3.87 ERA. Adam Wainwright (who is 3 years older) has a 3.17 ERA. Cole Hamels who has about the same major league tenure as C-Bill has a career 3.67 ERA. The great Roy Halladay (9 years older) has a career 3.42 ERA. Listen up: When a discussion of great pitchers is raised, Chad Billingsley is in that discussion! Chad Billingsley will be back with a vengeance. The best of C-Bill is yet to come. He is who we thought he was!
For as much as he has been injured, Hiroki Kuroda has been consistent with his ERA in that his first year and second year were nearly identical. His MLB career ERA is 3.74 as he has battled injuries. If healthy, he can be very, very good. Let’s hope that he is who we thought he was.
My parting shot is that the Dodgers’ much maligned rotation might just end up being their strength. Time will tell if they are who we thought they were!
Rants & Raves:
- Tony Jackson of ESPN/LosAngeles writes about Clayton Kershaw’s evolution into an Ace.
- Carlos Monasterios was a bright spot Monday – I think he might fill a nice role for us.
- Ronald Belisario will be back by April 20th – Guaranteed!