If today was an audition for Eric Stults and his injured left thumb to stay in the starting rotation, we won't be seeing him anytime soon. Stults had his shortest outing of the season, unable to get an out in the fourth inning, giving up four runs on six hits and two walks, as the Dodgers fell to the Cubs 7-0.
The Dodgers were shutout this season for the first time, in their 51st game. As noted by reader BHSportsGuy, the last time the Dodgers went this far into the season without getting shutout was 1975, when they were shutout by Steve Carlton in game #56.
Ryan Dempster allowed only four baserunners in seven innings to get his fourth win of the season.
Jeff Weaver ate up some innings after the short start by Stults, but what he provided cannot accurately be called "relief." Weaver allowed three hits, three runs, and a whopping five walks in 2.1 innings.
Here's how the Dodgers' starting rotation should play out the rest of the week:
- Sunday - Eric Milton on ESPN in the final game against the Cubs
- Monday - Hiroki Kuroda, rejoining the team after almost two months on the DL
- Tuesday - Randy Wolf
- Wednesday - Chad Billingsley
- Thursday - if Clayton Kershaw does not pitch in relief Monday, he'll start here. Otherwise, it's probably Weaver here since Eric Milton wouldn't be asked to start on three days rest.
- Friday - Eric Milton, or Kershaw if he pitches in relief Monday
So, we are looking at only one of Milton or Weaver Thursday or Friday. It's hard to imagine Stults getting another start after his last two outings. The only question now is who gets removed from the 25-man roster when Kuroda is activated. The prevailing thought was that A.J. Ellis would be sent back, but if Stults' thumb injury is still bugging him, might we see a disabled list trip for him?
Sometimes you are the hammer, and sometimes you are the nail. The Dodgers have been the hammer a lot more often than they have been the nail this season.
Milton will face Sean Marshall in the Dodgers' first game on ESPN's Sunday Night Baseball tomorrow night.
WP - Ryan Dempster (4-3): 7 IP, 3 hits, 1 walk, 5 strikeouts
LP - Eric Stults (4-2): 3 IP, 6 hits, 4 runs, 2 walks, 3 strikeouts