John Ely continues to pitch like he won't be in Dodgers' plans in 5-2 loss to Diamondbacks
Once there was Elymania, and it was grand. Also, very brief.
Logic said not to buy in. John Ely had essentially never pitched above double-A and was in no way originally in the Dodgers’ plans this season.
Then circumstance did its thing, and there he was. Called up and thrust into the Dodgers’ rotation. And to the surprise of pretty much all, he seemed to flourish.
Through a five-game stretch in May, he went 3-1 with a 2.18 ERA. He was far from overpowering, but displayed remarkable control. In those five starts, he walked only three. He had a stretch of 89 consecutive batters without allowing a walk.
Alas, that was then. Since then, he has been a very different pitcher.
This Ely struggles with his control, walks way too many and can no longer find the victory column, witnessed once again in the Dodgers’ 5-2 loss Saturday to the Diamondbacks.
The Dodgers’ incredibly shrinking offense managed just three hits, two against the Diamondbacks’ Daniel Hudson. Hudson came within one out of throwing the first complete game in his three-year career.
Stifling the Dodgers’ offense lately, however, is not exactly a significant accomplishment. In the Dodgers’ last 18 games, they are averaging 2.3 runs per game.
Ely went 5 1/3 fairly tortuous innings, allowing four runs on seven hits and six walks. He threw 101 pitches in his short stint, only 54 for strikes, and left with a 5.10 ERA.
Most troubling, that’s pretty much been his pattern since May. With only two starters assured of returning next season -- Clayton Kershaw and Chad Billingsley -- some consider Ely a logical candidate for the fifth spot in the rotation.
But Ely has pretty much pitched himself out of offseason consideration. Since May, he is 1-7 and has allowed 31 walks in 56 1/3 innings. There’s no way the Dodgers can meet this winter and count on him for next year.
Remarkably, Ely threw a shutout through four innings Saturday. The Diamondbacks stranded six runners and the Dodgers backed Ely up with a pair of double plays.
The Dodgers’ first hit against Hudson (8-2) came in the fourth when ex-Diamondback Trent Oeltjen tripled to center and scored on an Andre Ethier sacrifice fly.
Arizona tied it in the fifth when Stephen Drew tripled and scored on a Tony Abreu sacrifice.
Then it all got away from Ely in the sixth. Adam LaRoche led off with a double, and after an intentional walk, Cole Gillespie hit a three-run homer to left just past the glove of Reed Johnson.
When the pitcher, Hudson, then doubled to deep center, manager Joe Torre had seen enough.
And you have to wonder if the Dodgers just haven’t seen enough of Ely for now. Currently, he looks like a pitcher who could use a solid season at triple-A Albuquerque.
Ely’s last victory was on June 29. In 13 starts at triple-A Albuquerque this season, he went 5-4 with a 6.22 ERA.
Elymania, we barely knew you?
-- Steve Dilbeck
Photo: John Ely pitches to the Diamondbacks on Saturday. Credit: Jennifer Stewart / US Presswire