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Memo to Dodgers: That's what an ace looks like

October 7, 2010 |  2:56 pm

Like a difference maker. Like someone who can lift the spirits of his entire team.   A player who can dominate, and do so when it matters most.

Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee and CC Sabathia took the ball for their teams in divisional openers and brought back victory.

Just the way it was planned.

Halladay was otherworldly throwing a no-hitter against the Reds, the ace the Dodgers were outbid for by the Phillies in the past offseason. How’s that looking right now?

Lee struck out 10 in seven innings, allowing one run on five hits without a walk. Twice the Dodgers missed out on chances to acquire the left-hander, either unwilling to move prime-time prospects or lacking them and the cash.

Sabathia was hardly at his playoff best Wednesday, but he hung tough and enabled the Yankees to rally for the victory. Sabathia told General Manager Ned Colletti he wanted to be a Dodger in the 2008-09 offseason, but L.A. was outbid by the Yankees.

Meanwhile, the Dodgers’ opening-day starter last season was … Vicente Padilla.

An ace makes a difference. Can make a huge difference, like Sabathia and Lee did in the playoffs last year.

Clayton Kershaw continues to move in the direction of an ace, and next year should signal his full arrival.

But the Dodgers have gone the past three seasons without one, and it has cost them.

A true ace can elevate the confidence of an entire team, particularly in the playoffs. And the Dodgers could have used some serious elevating.

-- Steve Dilbeck