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Dodgers forced to keep counting on young starters, a predicament caused by lack of offseason movement

Hope those kids are going to be OK.

That’s the thing about starting pitchers, you never need just five. You need six, seven, often many more, over the course of a season. Not being prepared for that was the Dodgers’ great offseason failure.

It’s a long season, and it’s hard on pitchers’ arms, elbows and, yes, groins.

So now Chad Billingsley is on the disabled list, and although his groin injury is unlikely to keep him out longer than his 15 days on the disabled list, it still has to be unnerving for the Dodgers.

Billingsley and Clayton Kershaw are their two young hurlers, the ones they were privately counting on to know health.

But pitching can be precarious regardless of age. The Dodgers, understandably, do not want to take any chances with Billingsley’s long-term health.

But with the DL move, it means not only that they're not immediately counting on Vicente Padilla when he comes off the disabled list Saturday, but that they will continue counting on Carlos Monasterios, as well as John Ely.

These are two young pitchers that almost fell from the sky into the rotation and were remarkably successful. Monasterios had essentially never pitched above the class-A level and Ely above double-A until this season.

Both, however, have struggled recently. It’s new ground for both, and the Dodgers will be watching them carefully to see how they respond.

"This is where we have no history," manager Joe Torre said of Ely. "So we’ll find out."

You cannot truly count on young pitchers with such little experience. Anything out of them is almost a bonus. And there really are no enticing starters in the Dodgers' minor league system right now.

With Padilla’s return, Monasterios was scheduled to return to the bullpen, but now will start Friday at  Fenway Park in the opener against the Red Sox. Good luck, kid.

The tests will only become more difficult as the pennant race unfolds. It’s mid-June, and it’s where the Dodgers are. If it feels uncomfortable, it’s the bed the Dodgers made in the offseason.

--Steve Dilbeck
 
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Thanks Mr. Frank Mc -cheap -Court

To all who pray the Dodgers land Lee or Oswalt, there is no god. Either requires gobs of good talent and, seemingly more important, gobs of money. Not gonna happen, brudda. Much of the talent that would go are relatively cheap because they're young. There is no way, umpteenth time, the Dodgers are going to surrender their young talent for ANYTHING. McCourt is going to stick it to Torre to win the division, and probabaly nothing beyond, with iffy, inexperienced and otherwise dubious (at this point, Padilla) starting pitching.

Steel yourself for Boston, Anaheim, New York and then Frisco. This stretch with this staff in the shape it's in could make the Angels' sweep a fond memory of the good old days.

If there is a true Ace on the market that has years left on his contract, trade Matt Kemp while he still has value. He is a huge disappointment in my eyes. He has been a no show the last two post seasons and this year his defense is down and he is striking out way too much. I think the waiting game is over. You know the McCourts won't give him the money he wants when his contract is up so get what you can now! Go Dodgers and OFF WITH THE McCOurts!

Realistically, who were the Dodgers supposed to get this offseason? I mean guys we could have had, not just a wish list of guys that never really could have been acquired. Halladay is great, how could we have got him?

Rick's got it right on the head. The naysayers will say the Dodgers should have gotten Halladay, but the reality is that Halladay had a no-trade and refused to come west. Period. Where is the realistic deal that Colletti just decided not to pull the trigger on. Pay too much for Wolf? Didn't he just do that with Schmidt. How'd that work out? You don't just go to Costco and buy an ace.

And by the way, I agree with keeping the young talent. Russell Martin, James Loney, Matt Kemp, Xavier Paul, Jonathan Broxton, Clayton Kershaw, Chad Billingsley, Blake DeWitt, Hong Chi Kuo, Ronald Belisario . . . need I say more?

I agree Brandt & have said so all along, re: Matt Kemp - he is way over rated & all those who called & still think he is a Superstar, do not know baseball! He as you points out, makes bad decisions on fly balls, many a time, makes base running errors, whiffs far more than his HR's are worth & he has this you-can't-tell-me-nothing attitude.
And while I keep Kershaw, Loney, Paul, etc. I move Martin ASAP; he has gotten worse each & every year; Ave. (warning track) power, SB's & his weak throwing out runners. He has to be either a .300+ hitter, a 25 HR guy or possess a strong arm - he has neither of these components.
As far as Halladay goes, I read in a few East papers that coming to the Dodger's was not out of the realm of possibility.
But as long as Dread covets Martin & Kemp, in lieu of a stud SP & a solid Catcher, & as long as Dread is the G(eneral)M(oron) this team & Frank McDork owns the team, they will never make it back to the Series; plain & simple.

I think people are being crazy to think Ely will suddenly turn into a stink bug after anointing him as the next Koufax. Somewhere between those two extremes is more likely. He's a smart pup. He just has to make adjustments. Maybe he won't manage it, but most pitchers do.

On the other hand, we didn't have the starting rotation for the playoffs last September.

It's possible Colletti could pull off a game-changer trade. He has landed a few important pieces at the deadline, amidst the mistakes. (Seems to me a fellow named Greg Maddux showed up to get these kids to their first playoffs -- Maddux alone wasn't enough, but he sure helped them down the stretch).

If he doesn't, I don't think this team can get all the way. I have the bittersweet feeling that we may see these Dodgers morph into something like that Braves dynasty that went to the playoffs 12 years and never won it all. Without new ownership, we may continue to see a Dodger team lacking one of the core elements of the Dodger Way: pitching, pitching, pitching.


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