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Is the wonder gone from John Ely? He struggles again as Dodgers fall to Cubs, 7-3

July 10, 2010 |  4:27 pm
And here you were, just starting to get a tad comfy with the Dodgers rotation.

That’s one of the things about baseball, today’s strong starting five can quickly turn into four reliable starters … and now what?

John Elyhas found a way to shorten his name, or at least eliminate that Elymania part.

There was plenty of understated excitement when Ely unexpectedly burst upon the scene, going 3-2 with a 2.54 ERA in his first seven starts.

Alas, Ely went 1-5 with a 7.49 ERA in his next seven starts, the latest trouble leading to the Dodgers’ 7-3 loss to the Cubs on Saturday afternoon.

For the second consecutive start, Ely could not pitch out of the third inning. He left after allowing six runs on five hits, three walks and a hit batter in just 2 1/3 innings.

Overall he is now 4-7 with a 4.63 ERA. He is pitching like someone who needs to be replaced, though there remains no one remotely obvious to replace him in the rotation, either here or at triple-A Albuquerque.

Ely only found himself in the Dodgers rotation because they had been in such dire straits to begin with. Ely had never pitched above double-A before this season.

There’s still no one down in Albuquerque pitching particularly well. Unless you’re all geared up for Charlie Haeger, Take Four.

Ely recorded a scoreless first, and then did nothing but struggle.

He gave up a run-scoring single to Starlin Castro in the second, which was immediately followed by a Geovany Soto two-run homer.

He got one out in the third, followed by two singles, a hit batter and a walk to force in a run. Which ended his afternoon.

Travis Schlichting followed, allowed a pair of singles and Ely was tagged for six earned runs.

That pretty much took the air out of Dodger Stadium. The rest of the warm afternoon seemed labored and made for one of the more dull games of the first half.

The Dodgers just couldn’t get much going against Cubs starter Tom Gorzelanny (4-5), who held the Dodgers scoreless until the fifth. And even then, the Dodgers needed a couple of breaks.

Xavier Paul was ruled safe on a close play at first, though replays showed Gorzelanny just beat him covering the bag.

Rafael Furcal singled and then Andre Ethier blooped a hit to left that was played awkwardly by Alfonso Soriano. The ball bounced past him for a hit to score Paul and was scooped up by Marlon Byrd.

Byrd fired to third to try to nab Furcal, but no one was there. Furcal scored on the error.

Ethier also singled in a run in the ninth.

Still, the Dodgers were left not only with a loss but with a seeming hole in their rotation. And maybe just a bit more pressure on general manager Ned Colletti to land another starter.

-- Steve Dilbeck