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Category: Josh Towers

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


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


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


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