Ted Lilly’s pitching debut as a Dodger was rudely introduced by an unrelenting Giants offense crushing LA 10-0 this afternoon at Dodgers Stadium.
The free-agent signing of Ted Lilly didn’t exactly resonate shockwaves through the baseball community as this was their “big splash” off-season acquisition. Many MLB analysts saw this as a “get – me- over” signing. It basically said we did something in the off-season rather than nothing. In no way by signing Lilly would this suddenly make the Dodgers a division favorite or title contending ball club. The deal for 33 million over 3 years to get him however, i’m sure made many scratch their heads on what Dodger management was thinking in acquiring the lefty veteran now with his 5th team in 12 years. Lilly’s unimpressive pitching debut as a Dodger will surely raise question marks as to whether signing this lefty veteran/journeyman was worth the kind of money they inked to acquire him.
Lilly pitched 4 2/3 innings giving up 4 earned runs on 6 hits. Lilly’s inability to get out of the 5th, put Dodger Manager Don Mattingly in a bind as he had to extensively use his bullpen to finish this game. The biggest problem for Mattingly wont be motivating his players to pick their heads up and forget today’s loss, it will be whether he’ll have a bullpen available to finish tomorrows finale. The Dodgers have used 7 bullpen pitchers thru the first 3 games of the series. While this doesnt seem like a lot depending on how many available pitchers he has on a 25 man roster, this could prove to be critical to Mattingly’s strategy for tomorrow’s ballgame. Both teams have played each other tight through 2 of the 3 ballgames and the series finale should be no different. The Dodgers expect to throw Hiroki Kuroda on the mound against a questionable Barry Zito, who may start tomorrow’s contest despite injuries suffered from a car accident Thursday. Both Kuroda and Zito are definitely not shut down pitchers. Both are prone to give up runs and there is very little expectation that this will be a low scoring affair. The Giants are looking to even up the series 2-2 after dropping the first two games. This may come down to bullpen relief, and right now Giants Manager Bruce Bochy may have the edge going into tomorrow’s contest.
The Blue Notes:
- Even though the Dodgers were blanked this afternoon, you still have to be encouraged by the great offensive start of Andre Ethier and Matt Kemp. Ethier and Kemp continue to swing a hot bat going a combined 5 for 7 in the loss. What is very encouraging is Matt Kemp’s patience at the plate. Last year Kemp struck out 170 times. Already in the 3 games of this series Kemp has amassed 3 walks and only striking out once. This means Kemp is seeing the ball extremely well and if he isn’t getting base hits, hes putting the ball in play. All good signs for a batter with his kind of potential.
- While the Dodgers 3-4 hitters are holding up their end in offensive production, the rest of the Dodger line up just simply isn’t. Their 1-2 hitters in this series are a combined 3 for 23 (.130 BA). The inability of their supporting cast to get on base and give Ethier and Kemp opportunities to get RBI’s will undoubtedly stifle this team’s offensive momentum . Kemp only has 1 RBI, while Ethier has none.
- Minute as it seems, the Dodgers has committed errors in each game of the series thus far. Their opening day defensive performance was far from impressive. Had not Clayton Kershaw pitched a gem you would have almost thought the Dodger Defense would’ve lost the game for them. The series defensively for both teams has been ugly and thats putting it midly. Over the course of the season it will be interesting to see how Mattingly will assess the players he has and make the necessary adjustments to cut down their defensive deficiencies if they expect to be in thick of this race.
- Jonathan Broxton is off to a good start with 2 saves in 2 opportunities so far this season. His second half collapse in 2010 raised many questions if Broxton should still be the closer for the Dodgers going into 2011. Mattingly clearly has confidence that Broxton will have a bounce back season this year, but that almost faded away when he nearly blew his first save serving up a Pat Burrell home run in the Top 9th of their Opening Day Game Thursday. While Broxton regathered himself and shut down the Giants, its still a concern that should be monitored as we continue forward to the season.
- Chad Billingsley’s first win Friday night, was a very good sign for the Dodger’s starting rotation. Billingsley’s gave up 3 runs in his 2011 debut all in the 4 th inning, however he pitched 6 solid innings and gave his team a chance to come back and win the game which they did by the score of 4-3. Billingsley recently signed to a three-year contract extension through 2014, with a club option for 2015. If the option is exercised, the deal is would be worth $46 million. Clearly the Dodgers are putting their money where his arm is.
About the Author
Written by Cal Lee
An Avid follower of all sports. Played Athletics in High School and College. Baseball is my favorite sport, but am very much in tune with Football, Basketball. Currently covering major sporting events, and aspiring to be involved in Sports Entertainment through a Media Capacity. Currently Media Correspondent/Contributor for CBS Interactive GameCore