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Category: Josh Lindblom

Dodgers suffer first extra-inning loss of the season, 7-6

Dodgers-blog_275 The Dodgers thought they had the Rockies right where they wanted them.

Say what you will about the Dodgers this season, but they had been a monster in extra innings. They sneered at teams in extra frames. They were suddenly, inexplicably, baseball's best.

They seemed to be at it again Saturday in Denver, when in the 12th inning they got an unlikely home run from little Aaron Miles and an even more unlikely inside-the-park homer from Trent Oeltjen to take a 6-4 lead.

But rookie closer Javy Guerra blew the first save of his career in the bottom of the 12th, and then the Rockies won it in the 13th when Mark Ellis doubled with two out against Blake Hawksworth -- the Dodgers' eighth pitcher -- and Dexter Fowler followed with a game-winning single.

The 7-6 Colorado victory was the Dodgers' first loss in seven extra-inning games this season.

And for a moment, victory seemed so close.

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The kid is all right, the Dodgers aren't in 3-1 loss to Brewers

Dodgers_640 The kid -- the Dodgers' newest kid -- did almost everything right. For five innings, Nathan Eovaldi held the hottest team in baseball scoreless. Held them to three hits.

But with former Cy Young Award winner Zack Greinke matching him on the other end, 21-year-old Eovaldi finally cracked in the sixth. And with the way the season is unfolding for the Dodgers and the Brewers, that was enough.

Milwaukee used a two-run single by Jerry Hairston to spark a 3-1 victory over the Dodgers on Wednesday in Milwaukee, giving the Brewers their 19th win in their last 21 games. Some live volcanoes aren't that hot.

The Dodgers could not have asked more of Eovaldi, the baby-faced right-hander who was making his third major league start after being called up from double-A Chattanooga to replace another wunderkind, injured Rubby De La Rosa.

Supported by two double plays nicely turned by yet another rookie, Justin Sellers, Eovaldi matched Greinke through five highly efficient innings.

But two one-out walks wrapped around a single by Prince Fielder loaded the bases in the sixth. Pitching coach Rick Honeycutt visited the mound, but Manager Don Mattingly elected to let Eovaldi try to pitch out of the jam.

Eovaldi got Yuniesky Betancourt on a shallow fly to Matt Kemp in center and, still throwing 96 mph, got ahead of Hairston 0-2. But the veteran fouled off two pitches before knocking a high fastball up the middle for a two-run single.

It counted for Eovaldi's first major league loss. In his six innings, he gave up one run on five hits and three walks, with three strikeouts. He evened his record at 1-1 and left his earned-run average at 2.12.

Greinke went one additional inning, and it at least proved memorable for Tony Gwynn Jr. Gwynn hit his first home run of the season, a span of 274 plate appearances.

Greinke (12-4) left after seven innings, giving up one run on five hits and three walks. He struck out eight.

The Brewers scored an additional run thanks to wildness by reliever Josh Lindblom and poor defense by catcher Dioner Navarro in the bottom of the seventh. Jonathan Lucroy led off with a single and went all the way to third on a wild pitch by Lindblom that Navarro mistakenly tried to backhand.

Lucroy scored when Lindblom threw another wild pitch in the dirt that Navarro again failed to try to block.

The Dodgers' third consecutive loss to the Brewers left them 55-67 this season.

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-- Steve Dilbeck

Photo: Nathan Eovaldi. Credit: Scott Boehm / Getty Images

Dodgers call up Nathan Eovaldi; expected to start Saturday [Updated]

Photo: Starting pitcher Nathan Eovaldi #50 of the Los Angeles Dodgers. Credit: Christian Petersen / Getty Images They’ve gone this route before, and with pretty good success, so the Dodgers decided to once again to dip into their double-A ranks for a pitcher.

According to the Chattanooga Times-Free Press, on Friday the Dodgers called up Nathan Eovaldi, a 21-year-old right-hander who is expected to start Saturday in Phoenix against the Diamondbacks.

Eovaldi was 6-5 with a 2.62 ERA in 19 starts for Chattanooga. He has 99 strikeouts and 46 walks in 103 innings with a 1.18 WHIP.

He had never pitched above Class-A ball until this season and wasn’t considered this close to the majors, until having something of a breakout season for the Lookouts. And a series of injuries to Dodgers  pitchers.

Previously the Dodgers have gone to Chattanooga to tap right-handed starter Rubby De La Rosa and current closer Javy Guerra. Reliever Josh Lindblom was also culled from the Lookouts.

It is De La Rosa’s season-ending elbow injury that has created the current opening in the rotation. The Dodgers previously called up starter John Ely from triple-A Albuquerque, but have apparently decided to give the young Eovaldi a chance and use Ely in long relief.

[Updated at 10:25 p.m.: After Friday's game, the Dodgers optioned Ely back to Albuquerque, officially purchased the contract of Eovaldi and said he would start Saturday.]

-- Steve Dilbeck

Photo: Pitcher Nathan Eovaldi. Credit: Christian Petersen / Getty Images

Dodgers place Kenley Jansen on DL with irregular heartbeat [Updated]

Kenley-jansen_325 Kenley Jansen, who had overcome a sore shoulder to again become a dominant reliever this season, was placed on the 15-day disabled list by the Dodgers on Friday with cardiac arrhythmia.

The Dodgers called up right-hander Josh Lindblom from double-A Chattanooga to take Jansen's spot on the roster.

Jansen, who hasn’t given up a run in his last 14 appearances, complained his heart was fluttering Tuesday after recording a seven-pitch save against the Rockies. An EKG performed at the stadium indicated an irregular heartbeat, and he was taken to the hospital.

When Jansen, 23, failed to respond to medication, his heart was shocked back into its normal rhythm. He was released from the White Memorial hospital on Thursday.

[Updated at 6:01 p.m.: Dodgers trainer Stan Conte said Jansen will be out three weeks because he was placed on  blood thinner medication to prevent a clot.

He said the Dodgers consulted with seven different cardiologists, and though opinion was divided, it was decided to go "safe and conservative."

"Kenley is no longer having a problem and may not have one again the rest of his life," Conte said. "The decision was made to use the blood thinners simply as a precaution."

Jansen said he actually felt his lower heart flutter Tuesday afternoon before his ninth-inning performance.

"I pitched that way with it, and it got a little bit worse," Jansen said. "Then they did the EKG and decided to go to the hospital. Then I thought, 'What's really going on?' That scared me a little bit."

Conte said the decision to use blood thinners, and put Jansen on the disabled list, ultimately was Jansen's choice.

"It's a little frustrating, but you have to take care of your health first," Jansen said."I want to go out there and pitch, but it's just too dangerous."

The Dodgers don't want to risk him being struck by a baseball while on the blood thinner. Dodgers Manager Don Mattingly said Jansen would continue to throw regularly on the sideline while on the DL, but will wear a batting helmet while in the bullpen.]

Jansen leads the majors with an average of 14.84 strikeouts per nine innings. During his last 16 innings, opponents are batting .059 against him (3 for 51).

Lindblom was up once earlier this season, allowing two runs in the 10 2/3 innings of his eight games. At Chattanooga, he had 16 s aves and a 2.18 ERA and 1.06 WHIP.

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-- Steve Dilbeck

Photo: Kenley Jansen. Credit: Jeff Gross / Getty Images

For Dodgers, youth is served, then served again

Interpret it as you will -- they have no other choice, they’ve given up on the season, it’s their best move to win now -- but the Dodgers have gotten remarkably younger as the season has unfolded.

Six players already have made major-league debuts this season: Jerry Sands, Ivan de Jesus Jr., Javy Guerra, Rubby De La Rosa, Josh Lindblom and Dee Gordon. All but De Jesus remain on the roster.

Fifteen current Dodgers are under 30. At the moment, two rookies are semi-regular starters (Sands and Gordon) and another is in the rotation (De La Rosa).

The Dodgers are trying to crawl back into the race with five rookies on their roster. Tough road ahead.

-- Steve Dilbeck

Dodgers keep it rolling with 9-6 victory over Reds, as Matt Kemp homers again

Dodgers1_600

This time, there was a carryover effect. A very quick one, too.

The Dodgers followed their most thrilling, if unlikely, victory of the season on Saturday with quick offensive explosion Sunday. And then just kept it going.

By the time it was over, after Matt Kemp had hit another home run, the Dodgers had a 9-6 victory and were feeling like they had tapped into their season’s elusive quality -- momentum.

The Dodgers scored runs in five of their first six innings, collecting 13 hits and 10 walks. Every Dodger starter picked up at least one hit and seven scored.

Two of the hits came from starting pitcher Chad Billingsley, who in an 11-pitch at-bat, hit a solo home run, walked to force in a run and doubled in a third. The three RBIs were a career high.

One more than even Kemp managed, which is not to say the hot-hitting outfielder slowed down.

Coming off that 11-8 comeback victory the previous day, the Dodgers jumped on Cincinnati starter Travis Wood for three runs in the first inning. Jamey Carroll walked, took third on an Aaron Miles double and scored on an Andre Ethier sacrifice fly.

At which time Kemp hit his third home run in two days, this one a two-run shot. That left him with 48 RBIs, tops in the National League. He went two for three Sunday with three walks. He now has 16 home runs on the season, second in the N.L.

Billingsley homered for the second time in his career in the second inninng, and then the Dodgers scored three more times in the third. Catcher Rod Barajas, who had been a stunning one for 34 with runners in scoring position, doubled in two, and a bases-loaded walk to Billingsley forced in a third.

The Dodgers’ offense took the fourth off, but then came back with single runs in the fifth (Billingsley RBI double) and sixth (Jerry Sands RBI single). A regular offensive machine.

By then they were up 9-3, and even Billingsley was laboring on the mound, it was a comfortable cushion. Billingsley (5-4) went five innings, giving up four runs on eight hits and three walks.

John Ely surrendered two runs in his three-plus innings, with rookie Josh Lindblom getting the final three outs to help the Dodgers win their third series in a row.

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-- Steve Dilbeck

Photo: Pitcher Chad Billingsley (58) is congratulated by second baseman Aaron Miles after hitting a solo home run against the Reds in the second inning on Sunday in Cincinnati. Credit: Mark Lyons / EPA

Dodgers place Kenley Jansen on disabled list with shoulder inflammation, call up Josh Lindblom [Updated]

Kenley-jansen_300 The Dodgers’ youth movement rolls on. Alas, so do their injury woes.

When you’re 23-30, you do what you can.

Before Sunday’s game against the Marlins, the Dodgers called up right-hander Josh Lindblom from double-A Chattanooga and placed reliever Kenley Jansen (pictured at left) on the 15-day disabled list with shoulder inflammation.

To make room for Lindblom on the 40-man roster, the Dodgers designated Travis Schlichting for assignment. Schlichting, 26, wasn’t exactly lighting it up at triple-A Albuquerque, where he had a 6.55 ERA and a 1.73 WHIP.

Jansen becomes the 13th Dodger this season to be placed on the disabled list. They are back to having eight players currently on it.

Jansen threw one inning Saturday, but it took him 30 pitches. This came on the heels of a difficult previous outing, against Houston on May 23, when he threw 38 pitches.

Jansen, 23, is in only his second full year as a pitcher, after starting his career as a catcher. He was 1-1 with a 6.43 ERA in 20 games this season, his ERA mostly inflated from three rough outings.

[Update:  Jansen had an MRI exam on Sunday that showed bursitis in his right shoulder. He was given an injection of cortisone. Manager Don Mattingly said Jansen is being sent to the team’s Arizona facility, where he will begin his rehab after taking a few days off.

Mattingly said the shoulder had been bothering Jansen for awhile, but he had not mentioned it until after Saturday's game.

"I’m a little bit frustrated with Kenley," Mattingly said. "You can’t have something going on and not tell anybody.

"You have to tell somebody, get treatment on it and let the trainers do their job."]

Lindblom, a second-round draft pick in 2008 out of Purdue, caught the Dodgers’ attention during the 2010 spring training.

However, Lindblom struggled at triple-A and was converted from a starter to a reliever. He went 3-2 with a 6.54 ERA, while opponents hit .340 against him. He appeared in only two 2011 spring games.

This season he returned to double-A strictly as a reliever and seemed to thrive. At Chattanooga, the 6-4 Lindblom was 1-3 with a 2.96 ERA, with seven saves and 33 strikeouts and 11 walks in 24 1/3 innings.

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-- Steve Dilbeck

Photo credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea / US Presswire

Ramon Ortiz can't get it done, again, as Dodgers' winning streak ends at nine in 10-5 loss to Padres

Ramonortiz_586

Can we now all agree the Ramon Ortiz experiment has been a failure?

Please.

I guess the only person who was shocked that Ortiz got knocked around Wednesday by the offensively challenged Padres is Manager Joe Torre.

Anyway, he has to feign surprise. He does, of course, have to write someone’s name into that fifth spot in the rotation until Vicente Padilla comes back in a couple weeks.

And if there is no clear choice who should be the fifth starter, it should be abundantly clear by now it sure ain’t Ortiz.

Ortiz was rocked for five runs on six hits and three walks in just 3 1/3 innings. His earned-run average climbed to 6.30, his record fell to 1-2, the confidence level in him slipped to zero.

The Dodgers ultimately fell, 10-5, to the Padres, snapping their nine-game winning streak and dropping them two games behind San Diego in the National League West standings.

Until last week, Ortiz hadn’t started a major-league game since 2007. There’s just a small possibility there was good reason for the nearly three-year drought.

I’d say I don’t understand the fascination with Ortiz, but it’s more about a lack of viable alternatives.

There is no one at triple-A Albuquerque who is making a case for promotion -- Josh Lindbom (2-1, 6.05 ERA), Josh Towers (2-5, 8.05), James McDonald (2-1, 5.77), Scott Elbert (1-1, 5.85).

There’s really nobody on the staff, either, though at this point Carlos Monasterios looks like a gamble worth taking over another Ortiz outing. Monasterios threw three scoreless innings Wednesday in his first appearance in eight days.

It’s not like Ortiz is suddenly going to make some jump in ability or experience. He’s 36. He is what he is, and it’s not good enough.

--Steve Dilbeck

Photo: Dodgers starting pitcher Ramon Ortiz delivers a pitch against San Diego on Wednesday night at Dodger Stadium. Credit: Kirby Lee / US Presswire

Dodgers' rotation dilemma is of their own making

Pedro Martinez, anyone? Jarrod Washburn? John Smotlz? Mark Loretta?

As Ned Colletti likes to say, you can never have enough starting pitching. Anyway, he used to like to say that.

These Dodgers clearly lack starting pitching, and now it has them in a fix of their own creation.

The rotation was already highly questionable heading into the season, the Dodgers counting on: Clayton Kershaw to continue to develop, Chad Billingsley to return to form, Hiroki Kuroda to shake of his neck/head injury, Vicente Padilla to continue to prove Texas wrong, and knuckleballer Charlie Haeger to at least be decent.

As iffy as that all was, the Dodgers knew they had precious little depth behind the starting five. As soon as someone went down, which was inevitable over the course of a season, they would be in trouble.

They’re in trouble.

Padilla went on the disabled list with Sunday with a sore elbow.

And replacing him in the rotation Tuesday is … who exactly? No one to remotely feel confident in.

Jeff Weaver was the emergency rotation fill-in last season, but he’s already on the DL with a sore back. Besides, he’s been used more as a situational reliever this season and couldn’t be expected to give the Dodgers starters’ innings.

The only others on the roster theoretically capable are Ramon Ortiz and Carlos Monasterios. Ortiz  largely has been unimpressive (6.94 ERA). Monasterios, who has barely pitched above Single-A until this season, is understandably being handed with kid gloves.

Which leaves the Dodgers no choice but to bring up someone from the system. And there ain’t nobody there whose performance is screaming -- or whispering -- bring me up.

None of the Albuquerque Isotopes’ starters have been impressive. Josh Lindblom has shown promise the past two springs, but is 1-1 with a 5.57 ERA. John Ely is numerically best at 2-1 with a 3.00 ERA but is pitching above Double-A for the first time. Journeyman Josh Towers is 1-2 and 4.24, James McDonald is 0-0 with 4.97 ERA and a broken nail, and Scott Elbert is 0-1 with an 8.36 ERA.

Ugh. Towers, 33, will probably get the call, mostly because they have to call on someone. In eight major-league seasons with four different clubs, he’s an indifferent 45-55 with a 4.95 ERA.

Just gets you all goosebumpy, doesn’t it?

This hardly figures to be the last time the Dodgers are in this predicament. There’s just pathetic depth. They could sign Martinez. That wouldn’t help them in the short term -- he would still have to have a camp -- but would at least give them someone down the line.

None of this can come as a shock to the organization. Whether it was because of the pending divorce of Frank and Jamie McCourt or not, the Dodgers had a pitching need in the offseason and failed miserably to address it.

It’s already cost them, but the payment in performance is only beginning.

-- Steve Dilbeck

On the bright side, Charlie Haeger was impressive in his first start

You uncover your eyes now.

Really, it wasn’t that bad. Just because the Dodgers opened the season 2-4, blowing leads like dandelions, coming home tied for last and the staff sporting a 5.23 earned-run average.

There was something good that came out of Sunday’s 6-5 loss to the Marlins:

Charlie Haeger.

Take away the first three Florida hitters in the fourth inning, and it would be difficult to ask for more from him.

Haeger had his knuckleball darting all over the place, which is mostly good. He struck out 12 in six innings, walked four and allowed three hits.

Whether it was the breeze or the humidity, his knuckleball had plenty of movement. It danced so much that twice he struck out batters on wild pitches that got away from catcher A.J. Ellis and allowed the hitter to reach first.

He threw too many pitches (117, 67 for strikes) but knuckleballers are renowned for their rubber arms -- it’s not like they’re throwing 100 mph -- and hopefully Manager Joe Torre will allow him to go deeper into the game in his next start.

Torre saw something in Haeger this spring, because he really didn’t do anything to particularly distinguish himself and win the fifth starting spot. He had a nice ERA of 2.20, but not as good as Ramon Ortiz (0.96). Mostly, his major competition (James McDonald, Eric Stults, Josh Towers and Josh Lindblom) pitched themselves out of contention.

But if Haeger can continue to pitch like he did Sunday, concerns over the fifth spot will quickly evaporate. His performance was somewhat overlooked by the way the Dodgers gave away another game.

His only trouble Sunday was in the fourth, when his control briefly deserted him after he sat for a lengthy time when the Dodgers scored four times in the top of the inning.

He walked his first two batters and then gave up a crushing home run to Jorge Cantu.

Otherwise, it was an encouraging first start for Haeger. And after that trip, the Dodgers were looking for encouraging signs.

-- Steve Dilbeck
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