One would hope the coverage plan is solid for the Los Angeles Dodgers because their pitchers need all of the TLC Blue Cross can muster. Saturday it was Stephen Fife going down. The No. 1 thing LA pitchers have in common is not a 90 mph fastball, but a body part breaking down.
Not long ago I scoffed when Dodger manager Don Mattingly got all huffy about the idea of his team being favorites in the National League this season just because management went all out spending zillions of dollars to obtain everything needed in order to win a pennant.
I thought that anyone who had been the beneficiary of such a generous front office should be quiet except for saying thank you with the addition of enough key players to field a super strong lineup. What Mattingly should have said was something on the order of “We’ve got a solid roster, but anything can happen.”
Well, anything–and everything has happened. As if not enough Dodger pitchers have been injured I was wondering just what the heck Mattingly was thinking a few days ago when I noticed his ace–his healthy ace–Clayton Kershaw in a box score as a pinch-hitter. It’s one thing to be deprived of the designated hitter because you play in the National League, but to go out of your way to insert a pitcher as a hitter? Not to mention, can you imagine the blowback if Kershaw was injured? What kind of conversation would be going on now if Kershaw got hit by a pitch on his throwing hand wrist?
It’s pretty hard to keep up with the Dodgers’ starting pitcher casualty list, but I’ll give it a go. Craig Billingsley is out for the season, destined for Tommy John surgery and a year’s worth of rehab. Zach Greinke, the major free-agent acquisition of the off-season, is on the disabled list for a couple of more months with a broken collar bone suffered in his WWF match with Carlos Quentin of the Padres. Chris Capuano is still out with an injury, too, a calif muscle problem aggravated in the same brawl that shelved Greinke. And now, after Saturday’s play, Stephen Fife has gone on the disabled list with a twinge in his shoulder.
Fife was a back-up supposed to hold his finger in the dike while some of the others got well, so now the Dodgers are calling upon backups to the backups to fill the rotation. In the one piece of good pitching news, southpaw Ted Lilly, who was out all of April until a few days ago, returned and pitched a game.
And I thought Mattingly was just whining. Maybe he knew he knew more than we knew because he had one of those free, one-question tarot card readings with Miss Cleo asking: “How does my pitching shape up?”
Miss Cleo probably saw the future and shook her head. The worse news for Mattingly is if those arms don’t get healthy fast his new, free-spending owners might not be too patient with him, and this domino-like calamity might take general manager Ned Colletti down, too.
My question for Miss Cleo: “Will the Dodgers recover and make the playoffs?”