It's time for ... sitting the Dodgers' regulars?
Put me in coach, I’m ready to play, today …
Unless, you know it’s like three games in a row. Then it is apparently rest time. The first weekend of the season. With two off days coming in the next six.
We’ve seen this before, not that it was any better understood when Joe Torre was pulling the strings.
Now it’s Don Mattingly’s turn, and it’s apparently going to be more of the same. Maybe even worse? Guess he was learning by Torre’s side all those years, although you would think he’d also learn from Torre’s mistakes.
So after the Dodgers had won the first two games of the season over the rival Giants, Saturday Mattingly trots out a lineup against Matt Cain that wouldn’t have impressed in spring training.
Five regulars were out, three who had to be because of injuries -- Casey Blake, Jay Gibbons, and I guess, Juan Uribe.
And then he sat shortstop Rafael Furcal and catcher Rod Barajas.
Mattingly has said all along he wanted to give Furcal regular rest in an attempt to keep his trick back healthy.
But the third game of the season? After building up momentum with two victories over the defending world champions? With off days coming Monday and Thursday? It’s on the schedule and everything.
If Furcal is that fragile, how are the Dodgers going to count on him for an entire season?
Starting the first game of his career at catcher was Hector Gimenez, who like second baseman Ivan De Jesus Jr. was looking for the first hit of his career. De Jesus is still looking, and is now hitless in his first seven at-bats.
"I expected to win that game," Mattingly said.
Such an optimist. Instead, he lost 10-0. Left-hander Ted Lilly, who received the worst run support of any starter in the majors last season, had to wonder if he was cursed. Lilly was far from sharp, but the Dodgers were shut out.
I understand trying to get Furcal some regular time off, but when he really needs it. And unless he’s got something going on physically the Dodgers aren’t revealing, it's hard to imagine his 33-year-old body cried out for rest after having played two whole games.
They’ve had all winter to rest. Now it’s time to play.
-- Steve Dilbeck
Photo: Dodgers shortstop Rafael Furcal delivers a run-scoring single against the Giants in the sixth inning Friday night. Credit: Mark J. Terrill / Associated Press