The Dodgers' nine-game winning streak came to an end tonight, at the hands of the Padres, who put a 10-5 whooping on Ramon Ortiz and friends at Dodger Stadium.
About a week and a half ago, manager Joe Torre said he would prefer starting Ramon Ortiz over Carlos Monasterios because of the veteran status of Ortiz. After Ortiz allowed two runs in relief of Charlie Haeger's no-out start, Torre had this to say:
"Right now, just to try to stabilize, we'll probably go with more experience in Ortiz, if I needed that starter. Last night, he threw 83 pitches and was ready to go out there again. That, I can't ask [Carlos] Monasterios to do; he's younger and doesn't know his body as well. Ortiz seems to have a rubber arm."
It might be time to put that rubber arm on the Springfield Tire Fire, or anywhere other than the Dodger rotation. Ortiz lasted just 3 1/3 innings tonight, allowing five runs and nine baserunners. In two starts, both against the Padres, Ortiz has given up 11 hits, eight runs, and six walks in just 7 1/3 innings, with five strikeouts. On the season, Ortiz has allowed 49 baserunners and 21 earned runs in 30 innings.
Luckily for the Dodgers, they don't have to worry about this spot in the rotation for a while. With Monday's off day, they don't need a fifth starter until Saturday, May 29 in Colorado. If there were ever a time for James McDonald, Scott Elbert, or even Josh Lindblom to step up and claim a rotation spot, this is it. Carlos Monasterios, who has turned into the forgotten man in the bullpen, could get a shot, too. Basically, as long as it's not Ramon Ortiz, the Dodgers will be better for it.
If there was a way to feel terrible about only scoring four runs in five innings off someone, the Dodgers felt that way tonight. Jon Garland pitched five Ortizian innings, allowing 12 baserunners himself, throwing 117 pitches. But the Dodgers plated only four runs, leaving eight men on base in those five innings. Manny Ramirez, who was a late scratch from tonight's lineup after injuring his left foot during warmups, pinch hit in the fifth inning with two runners on base, down 8-4, but Garland struck out Manny, getting him to swing and miss and two fastballs to finish the inning.
After the game, Torre told reporters Manny hurt his foot pregame while “getting his legs loose” by swinging them, when he hit his toe on a table. X-rays came back negative.
Through 40 games, here's a breakdown of the Dodger starters this season, which shows a gaping hole in the fifth starter spot:
|Dodger Starters in 2009|
- Before the game, Torre said Vicente Padilla played long toss today, throwing about 40 tosses. Padilla is scheduled to throw off a mound Thursday for the first time since being placed on the disabled list
- Torre also said Rafael Furcal, still on the disabled list with a tight left hamstring, had a good workout today, feeling no problems after running. Furcal will have similar workouts over the next two days, then the club will decide Furcal's next step this weekend, likely a another rehabilitation assignment
Casey Blake followed a night of a home run and two singles with...another night with a home run and two singles. As Vin Scully noted in the ninth inning, "Maybe the beard is working."
- Ramon Troncoso, who allowed three home runs all of last season, allowed back-to-back dingers tonight to Adrian Gonzalez and Chase Headley, Troncoso's second and third home runs allowed this season
- Monasterios, who last pitched over a week ago, pitched three scoreless innings tonight, lowering his ERA to 1.90 on the season
- Matt Stairs stole a base in the Padres' five-run fourth inning, his first steal since June 7, 2008, a span of 191 games
- Russell Martin hit a double in the first inning to extend his hitting streak to 14 games, during which he is hitting .304/.371/.446 with 10 runs scored. It was the first time in 13 tries this season that Martin has led off the game by getting on base.
- Jeff Weaver entered the game in relief in the fourth inning, and got a base hit while batting in the bottom of the inning. It was just the 13th hit by a relief pitcher in major league baseball this season. Dodger pitchers entered the night with three singles in 70 at-bats this season.
- Will Venable had four hits for the Padres, including two doubles and a triple
- Adrian Gonzalez drove in a career high six runs for San Diego
- Since Staples Center opened in the 1999-2000 NBA season, the Dodgers are 17-20 in games at Dodger Stadium on the same night as a Lakers' home playoff game. The Lakers are 33-4 in such games, including their win tonight over Phoenix in Game 2 of the Western Conference Finals.
The second and final game of the series with San Diego is another rematch, with Clayton Kershaw and Kevin Correia facing off tomorrow night.
WP - Jon Garland (5-2): 5 IP, 9 hits, 4 runs, 2 walks, 4 strikeouts
LP - Ramon Ortiz (1-2): 3 1/3 IP, 6 hits, 5 runs, 3 walks, 1 strikeout