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No More Excuses, Ned

Posted By Dave Leonardis On May 9 2010 @ 12:10 pm In Los Angeles Dodgers | No Comments

Dodgers’ slugger and fertility drug poster child Manny Ramirez was activated from the 15-day DL yesterday and made his triumphant return to the lineup last night against the Rockies. However, Man-Ram, who went 1-for-4, was hardly the story in last night’s 7-0 drubbing.

By the time most fans were descending the steps fresh from getting a Dodger Dog, starter Charlie Haeger was being pulled from the game. Haeger lasted all of 22 pitches last night, failing to get an out after giving up five runs on two hits in a 6-run first inning.  All five of the batters Haeger faced scored, three of them were on base after Haeger walks. Haeger’s horrific outing bangs home a point I’ve been making all season:

The Dodgers’ pitching staff stinks.

GM Ned Colletti is still offering up silver linings for his beleaguered rotation though. “Kershaw’s pitched some great games, but he’s going to struggle from time to time, that’s the nature of being young. Chad [Billingsley], the last three times out, save for an inning here or an inning there, has been much better. Still, that’s a lot to put on two younger players. ” said Colletti.

Asking pitchers, who are 22 and 25 respectively, to be the aces for a contender is quite a daunting task, but Kershaw and Billingsley aren’t rookies. Colletti can continue to make excuses for the failures of this staff, but the fact remains if you don’t make the playoffs on the benefit of the doubt. The Dodgers are 13-17 after the first 30 games of the season, good for last in the NL West. Colletti can blame the staff’s inconsistency on youth all he wants, but there are several young starters out in the majors that have managed to carry their teams. Giants’ ace Tim Lincecum is a back-to-back Cy Young winner. He’s also a month shy of 26. Red Sox’s hurler Josh Beckett had two World Series rings to his name by the time he was 27. Johan Santana carried the Twins for a while in his mid-20′s before becoming an elder statesman with the Mets. The same can be said for Roy Halladay during his run with the Blue Jays. Rockies’ starter Ubaldo Jiminez, whom the Dodgers will face tonight in the series finale, is the Cy Young front-runner and he just turned 26.

It seems amazing to me that the same Ned Colletti, who was all about throwing his star centerfielder Matt Kemp under the bus a couple weeks ago, is now telling us we should be more patient with his young frontliners. The fact of  the matter is, this team needs to find some pitching and it needs it NOW. The Dodgers have lost three of their last five, including dropping the first two of the Brewers series in which they allowed 11 runs each game. Last night, they got shut out by a 22-year old named Jhoulys Chacin. The Dodgers play, particularly from the pitching staff, does not befit a team that is expected to contend for a World Series ring. They are six games out of first and that could worsen if they are unable to keep Jimenez from improving to 7-0 tonight.

The time has come for Colletti to quit defending the porous play of his young hurlers and go out and infuse some life into this pitching staff. Perhaps he should dial up Billy Beane in Oakland and talk to him about Ben Sheets or call up the Rangers about Rich Harden. The return of Manny Ramirez is great for the Dodgers, but Manny doesn’t have a curveball. Manny can’t keep opposing teams from dropping five runs on them in 22 pitches. If last night’s nightmare wasn’t a wake up call for Colletti to go out and find some talent for the rotation, then perhaps he’s more delusional than even his defense of Kershaw and Billingsley would suggest.

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