Dodgers (13-14) @ Rockies (10-15), 1:05pm
The Dodgers' 5th starter battle has devolved into a something resembling the cast of characters from Mos Eisley, a most "wretched hive of scum and villainy." Take this with a grain of salt, but here's a rundown of the spring performances of the candidates for the final rotation slot:
Ugh. I didn't include Jason Scmidt since (a) he only recently started pitching in "A" games, and (b) he is already out of contention for the job, at least to start the season. Look at these candidates:
- Shawn Estes has been banished to the bullpen, if not his release/retirement
- Eric Stults needed "a strong outing to stay alive in the fifth-starter competition," and didn't deliver today
- Claudio Vargas and his major league contract might be moved to the bullpen
- Eric Milton has not pitched in the big leagues since 2007, and in his last 370.2 IP, he has a 5.83 ERA (a 77 ERA+) and has given up 1.77 HR/9
That leaves James McDonald, the Dodgers' #2 rated prospect by Baseball America, yet even McDonald had been shaky this spring. That is, until his last outing, when he pitched three hitless innings against Cleveland on Saturday.
Things were so bad for the Dodgers that they promoted 21-year old Josh Lindblom -- the #4 prospect -- to big league camp last week. Lindblom has made the most of his opportunity, allowing only two runs in seven innings, walking one and striking out six. As great as it would be for Lindblom to claim a spot in the rotation, his time will probably come a few months down the road. Ken Gurnick tells us:
The likely scenario for Lindblom is to copy Clayton Kershaw's progression of last year -- last week's spring promotion from Minor League camp, impressive exhibition outings, an April assignment at Double-A and graduation to the big leagues sooner rather than later to take over for an injured or underperforming veteran.
Which means it's time for James McDonald to stake his claim for a rotation spot. He can go a long way toward that goal by performing well in his start today in Tucson against the Rockies.
Adam McCalvy of MLB.com reported that aside from Matt Kemp returning from contact lens issues, Manny and most of the regulars won't make the trip with the Dodgers today.
Lyle Spencer of MLB.com reports that Jorge De La Rosa will start for the Rockies, and will be followed by a plethora of pitchers: Huston Street, Ryan Speier, Josh Fogg, and Juan Morillo.
Be sure to get your votes in for the Sweet 16 round of the 2009 Dodger prediction bracket. Voting for this round runs through Friday afternoon.