May 28

Scott Elbert recalled, Nick Green designated for assignment


Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images
Scott Elbert’s final 12 appearances in the 2009 regular season for the Dodgers were for no more than one inning each.

Scott Elbert, discussed here Wednesday, was called up to take a bullpen slot for at least the time being. Confirmation on who will vacate the roster to make room for Elbert is to come.

Joe Torre can be aggressive with the bullpen in support of Carlos Monasterios’ second start and first in Colorado. The Dodger bullpen only threw five pitches Thursday (Jeff Weaver) and has thrown only 89 pitches in four days since Sunday. The shaky and oft-used Ramon Troncoso has thrown only 13 pitches since Saturday. Bottom line: Nine innings, eight pitchers.

The Dodger press notes said that Cory Wade, who turned 27 today, has begun to throw on flat ground in the latest step of his rehabilitation.

Update: Nick Green has been designated for assignment, the Dodgers announced 45 minutes before gametime.

May 27

Ely Ely, Ely ly ly ly, ly ly ly, Ely Ely

John Ely was raised a White Sox fan who stayed away from Wrigley Field until his agent took him there, writes Tony Jackson of ESPNLosAngeles.com. And Ely’s dad Jack won’t go to Wrigley, even to see his boy pitch, adds Michael Becker of the Press-Enterprise.

  • Josh Wilker of Cardboard Gods spent an evening with Bill Lee, and it was as memorable as you could have hoped for.
  • Jaime Jarrin, Peter O’Malley and Dodger scout Camilo Pascual are among the inaugural inductees in the Latino Baseball Hall of Fame.
  • Steve Garvey’s son Ryan is a 6-foot junior outfielder batting .390 for Palm Desert High School. Pete Donovan of the Desert Sun talked with Dad as he took in his son’s game (via Baseball Think Factory).
  • Colorado pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez, whose only loss this season was to the Dodgers and Clayton Kershaw, is the first pitcher since Juan Marichal in 1966 and fourth in a century to win nine of his first 10 starts with an ERA below 1.00, according to TMI. The Dodgers will miss him when they travel to Colorado this weekend.
  • Geoff Young of Ducksnorts has a good recap of the Padres’ eventful 2-1, 13-inning victory over St. Louis late Wednesday.

* * *

The following notes were sent by Kenton Wong of ESPN Stats & Info:

  • Jonathan Broxton had just one save in April but has saved 10 games so far in May.
  • Casey Blake went 2 for 5 with a HR and a double Wednesday for his 12th multi-hit game this season.
  • Blake is batting .412 (14-34) with two doubles, four HR and eight RBI in his last nine games.
  • James Loney picked up three hits Wednesday for the 8th time this season. That is tied for most three-hit games in MLB this season with the Angels’ Kendry Morales.
  • Matt Kemp was 1 for 5 with two RBI Wednesday for his 10th multi-RBI game of the season and first since May 14 at San Diego.
  • Hong-Chih Kuo threw 1 1/3 innings, recording all four outs via strikeout. He extended his scoreless innings streak to 10 1/3 innings (11 appearances).
  • Ted Lilly (1-4, 4.30 ERA) is 3-1, 3.94 ERA in career vs. the Dodgers. Since winning his season debut, he has gone 0-4. He is 0-2 with a 5.68 ERA this season at Wrigley Field.

Scheduled Colorado pitching matchups:
Friday: Carlos Monasterios (1-0, 1.90 ERA) vs. Jeff Francis (1-0, 0.68 ERA)
Saturday: Hiroki Kuroda (5-2, 3.03 ERA) vs. Aaron Cook (1-3, 5.40 ERA)
Sunday: Clayton Kershaw (4-3, 2.90 ERA) vs. Jhoulys Chacin (3-2, 3.09 ERA)

May 26

Venus Flytrap explains the atom, but not the bullpen

Joe Torre confirmed to reporters today that the Dodgers will call up a pitcher from Albuquerque before Friday’s game. He also said that Ramon Ortiz would be backing up Carlos Monasterios that day.

Andre Ethier is likely to head out soon on a rehab assignment in Albuquerque, Torre and the Dodgers said.

Elsewhere …

  • John Lackey has an ERA is above 5.00. Alex Remington of Big League Stew says it’s Lackey’s command.  If Lackey were a Dodger, John Ely could turn him around.
  • Dodger photographer extraordinaire Jon SooHoo has created the Dodger Photog Blog.  (via TheLFP.com)
  • Tim Brown of Yahoo! Sports interviews Toronto batting coach Dwayne Murphy about the Blue Jays’ record pace for home runs. “I think on-base percentage is an overrated stat,” Murphy said. “Those guys getting on base, most of them aren’t getting them in. Give me somebody who drives them in after that. I need guys who can drive the ball.”
  • Stephen Fry supports the Great Britain baseball team.  Awesome. (Thanks, Baseball Musings.)
  • Al Yellon of Bleed Cubbie Blue looks at the latest in policing drinking problems in the Wrigley Field bleachers.
  • If you came to last night’s game with a bleacher ticket, and wanted to drink alcohol, you needed to get a wristband from crowd control. This is an outstanding idea and props to the Cubs for being proactive after the problems a couple of weeks ago and coming up with a solution. There were crowd control people checking ID’s as people entered, and also several tables set up inside the bleachers issuing wristbands if you missed that coming in.

    While it’s not a perfect system, it should cut way down on the underage drinking. Incidentally, even though ID’s are checked as you get a wristband, they will be checked again by the alcohol servers. There were a few people ejected last night, but no fights and the crowd, though small — the bleachers were only about 2/3 full and the paid attendance of 34,749 was the smallest of the season — was peaceful.

  • Are the Padres going to turn into pumpkins? Longtime Ducksnorts blogger Geoff Young asks and answers at The Hardball Times.
May 25

Kershaw LXI: Kershawrms and the Man


Christopher Hanewinckel/US Presswire
Clayton Kershaw is averaging 105 pitches per game in nine starts this season. Chad Billingsley averaged 110 in his first nine starts of 2009.

Clayton Kershaw, 22, threw 3,020 pitches last season and, with 942 under his belt in 2010, is on pace for approximately 3,600 this season. In fact, he has an extremely viable chance of throwing the most pitches of anyone in the majors age 23 or under since 2000.

The top 10 names on the list are Felix Hernandez, Scott Kazmir, Matt Cain, Ryan Dempster (tonight’s Cubs starter), Dontrelle Willis, Barry Zito, Randy Wolf, Ben Sheets, Mark Buehrle and Carlos Zambrano. Mark Prior is 13th on the list, and Chad Billingsley’s 2008 season is 17th.

It doesn’t necessarily mean anything, because trouble comes to pitchers with all kinds of histories. But FYI …

Name Pitches Year Trouble?
Hernandez 3633 2009  
Kazmir 3608 2007 2009
Cain 3606 2008  
Dempster 3606 2000 2001
Willis 3555 2005 2007
Zito 3538 2001 2004 or 2007?
Wolf 3528 2000 mid-2004
Sheets 3510 2002 mid-2003
Buehrle 3510 2002  
Zambrano 3471 2004 2010

* * *

Watch what happens when Dempster throws a changeup tonight. Opponents are 1 for 27 against his changeup this season, but the Dodgers are batting .305 against them, according to John Fisher of ESPN Stats and Information.

Including his 2008 playoff grand slam, James Loney has hit five consecutive fly balls off Dempster. The other four were caught. Loney’s last regular-season hit off Dempster was in 2007.

* * *

Kyle Russell has been on a tear for Class A Inland Empire, with six homers in his past six games. For the season, the 6-foot-5 outfielder has an on-base percentage of .431 and slugging percentage of .652. Writes Kevin Goldstein of Baseball Prospectus: “Drafted as a college senior, he turns 24 in June so it’s time to move him up, and scouts still aren’t convinced that he can hit enough at the upper levels, as evidenced by his 53 whiffs in 164 at-bats. One way or another, it’s time to find out.” A move could be tied into a promotion for the endlessly hot Jerry Sands, who is at .457/.758 for Low A Great Lakes.

May 23

Lakers trainer Gary Vitti comes to Andre Ethier’s aid


Matt Kartozian/US Presswire
Andre Ethier has fallen out of the National League home run lead while on the disabled list.

Tony Jackson of ESPNLosAngeles.com writes that Dodger trainer Stan Conte asked his Lakers counterpart Gary Vitti for guidance about Andre Ethier’s pinkie fracture, and Vitti recommended a special splint that appears to have accelerated Ethier’s timetable for returning to the playing field.

… Conte put in a call to Vitti because he knew some of the Lakers players had dealt with similar injuries.

“This was the day before their playoff game,” Conte said. “But he called right back and couldn’t have been nicer.”

Vitti recommended a special splint that immobilizes the first knuckle but leaves the second knuckle flexible. What that does is allow Ethier to swing a bat more-or-less unfettered, which he has been doing in the indoor batting cages. Conte said Ethier already has progressed from hitting off a tee to hitting soft-toss pitches and even catching a ball because the split also allows him to squeeze his glove.

The knuckle that is broken has to be immobilized in order to heal. However, because of the splint, that knuckle can be immobilized without immobilizing the entire finger. That means the fracture doesn’t have to heal completely in order for Ethier to get back on the field. Conte said that when Ethier does return, he will play while wearing the splint, which he will wear constantly until the fracture heals.

This is a major step forward that conceivably could allow Ethier to return from the disabled list as soon as he becomes eligible to do so May 30 at Colorado. And while Conte wouldn’t go so far as to predict that, he did concede that the process is moving much more quickly than it would have without the splint.

* * *

  • Dodger starters have allowed three home runs in their past 99 2/3 innings, notes David Pinto of Baseball Musings. John Ely hasn’t allowed a homer in 31 2/3 innings, and Clayton Kershaw hasn’t given one up in 22 1/3 innings since May 4.
  • Blue Heaven posts a vintage snapshot of a young Bill Russell.
  • Not sure I’ll be in front of the computer if activation news about Rafael Furcal comes later this morning, but despite the reports of the past 24 hours that Blake DeWitt might be sent down to make room, I find that almost impossible to believe. You don’t send down the starting second baseman in order to keep a guy like Nick Green at the back of your bench.
May 22

Can John Ely keep it going?


Jeff Gross/ALLSPORT
Luke Prokopec is fifth all time in major-league innings pitched by an Australian native.

Nine years ago, at the age of 23, Luke Prokopec began the 2001 season with the following three starts:

Date IP H R ER BB SO ERA
4/6 7.67 4 1 1 0 7 1.17
4/21 6.00 6 2 2 0 5 3.00
4/27 7.00 6 3 3 0 5 3.86
Total 20.67 16 6 6 0 17 2.61

Prokopec was a sight for sore eyes in a starting rotation that at the start of 2001, except for Kevin Brown, was a mixed bag, with Eric Gagne and Darren Dreifort each posting April ERAs of around 5.00.

However, Prokopec, who walked the leadoff batter in start No. 4 after having faced 78 batters in a row without a free pass, didn’t last the year in the rotation, finishing the season with a 4.61 ERA in 22 starts. That December, newly installed Dodger general manager Dan Evans made the rather prescient decision to trade Prokopec and minor leaguer Chad Ricketts to Toronto for Cesar Izturis and Paul Quantrill.

This trade was personally memorable for me because it was the first time I had ever recognized that it might be a good idea to trade a pitcher who had promise but didn’t have great strikeout totals – Prokopec was at 5.9 per nine innings. If I recall correctly, there were those who felt the Dodgers should have traded Gagne, who was 25 with a 4.75 ERA.

As it turned out, the following season was miserable for Prokopec, who had a 6.78 ERA and battled serious arm trouble. He made his last major-league appearance August 23 of that year.

So yeah, I went there. I’m telling the cautionary tale, that just because a young pitcher rips off three starts without walking anyone and looks like he can make the baseball do his bidding, doesn’t mean he’s guaranteed a bright future.

Having gotten that out of the way, let me just say that I couldn’t be more excited about John Ely’s next start, coming today in the Dodger Stadium shadows before a Fox audience. I hope in a matter of hours, the whole nation is catching Elymania.

* * *

Rafael Furcal had a good day in an extended Spring Training game today, Joe Torre told reporters, and is on track to be activated Sunday or Tuesday.

Torre added that Andre Ethier has begun hitting off a tee and is progressing.

The Dodgers don’t need to start their fifth starter again until Saturday, but might do so Friday to give Hiroki Kuroda an extra day off. Monday’s off day is the Dodgers’ last before a stretch of 17 games in a row heading into June 10.

May 21

Dodgers face a Detroit medley


Christine Cotter/AP
Miguel Cabrera is slugging at a career-best .603 rate.

It’s always a test when the Dodgers face an American League team. That won’t change tonight, though it’s an uneven Detroit Tigers team the Dodgers will face.

Five members of the Detroit offense are hitting the ball very hard. Miguel Cabrera (1.030 OPS/175 OPS+) is moidering the ball, while Brennan Boesch (.987/161), Magglio Ordonez (.878/137), Johnny Damon (.840/127), and Austin Jackson (.825/122) are no slouches. Carlos Guillen (.834/125) is on the disabled list.

The Tiger offense is weak at catcher (Gerald Laird/Alex Avila), third base (Brandon Inge), shortstop (Adam Everett/Ramon Santiago) and second base (starter Scott Sizemore was demoted to the minors last weekend). Because its outfielder/first base/DH types don’t play those other positions, it looks as though the Tigers are stuck with four great bats and four lesser ones when they take the field tonight.

Rain on Monday pushed Tigers ace Justin Verlander’s most recent start ahead a day and his next one to next week, meaning the Dodgers will avoid him. Verlander has been the only above-average pitcher in the Tiger starting rotation this season. Tonight, the Dodgers get the enigmatic Dontrelle Willis (4.68 ERA), who pitched six shutout innings against Minnesota April 29 but has allowed seven runs in his past 8 2/3 innings (over two starts).

Detroit has won seven of its past 10, while the Dodgers have won 10 of their past 11.

* * *

  • Introducing Jamie Enterprises (via 6-4-2). I have to apologize but I had a laugh when I got to the part in her bio about her being “an avid swimmer.” Indeed.
  • At Dodger Divorce, Josh Fisher outlines the concern that I had before the McCourts bought the Dodgers. “Anyone Else” is not always the better option.
  • The “In Beard We Trust” T-shirts from The Left Field Pavilion are becoming a phenomenon.
  • The Dodgers released Josh Towers from Albuquerque and moved Seth Etherton into the Isotopes starting rotation, reports Ken Gurnick of MLB.com. Trying to make a comeback into the big leagues, Towers had an 8.05 ERA.
  • Blue Heaven passes along the news that Dotttie Kamenshek, the inspiration for Geena Davis’ character in “A League of Their Own,” passed away this week.

Update: Joe Sheehan writes for SI.com on how interleague play affects the National League West: “The Dodgers’ interleague schedule is brutal. As always they play the Angels twice, plus they see the Red Sox, Yankees and Tigers. Only the last-place Diamondbacks also get the Red Sox and Yankees. The Padres and Giants get both the Jays and Orioles, while playing just one of the top three AL East teams each. That’s a huge schedule edge, especially for the Padres, who get six games against the Mariners to boot.”

May 20

Kershaw LX: Kershawlsbury Hill

The Dodger offense’s best friend and big toe, Manny Ramirez, is out of the starting lineup for the second night in a row.

Update: Joe Torre told reporters before tonight’s game that Ramirez hit in the cage, but that the foot hurts when he puts pressure on it. Ramirez is again available to pinch-hit.

Other comments: The Dodgers haven’t decided whether to skip the No. 5 spot in the rotation next week. Carlos Monasterios or Ramon Ortiz will make that start if needed. No one in the minors is currently a candidate.

About James McDonald, Torre said: “Development sometimes takes funny turns, it’s about consistency and confidence. His tools and his body are there, it’s all about pitching and his mentality.”

Vicente Padilla is progressing but still won’t be back until mid-June at the earliest.

May 19

Rafael Furcal making progress

Rafael Furcal showed progress while running today, Joe Torre told reporters this afternoon, giving the team hope that the shortstop could be activated next week. Torre also said that Vicente Padilla threw 40 long tosses today and will throw on the mound Thursday.

Russell Martin has been the best at his approach that Torre has observed since he became Dodger manager — both at the plate and in the clubhouse. Martin, strangely, is now hitless in 12 at-bats leading off a game but has a hit in every one of those games. He has reached base 21 times in his career-high 13-game hitting streak.

* * *

Paul DePodesta, writing at It Might Be Dangerous … You Go First, thinks there are signs the Padres can sustain their surprising start to the 2010 season.

May 18

Fractured fairy tales: Andre Ethier to the disabled list


Gary A. Vasquez/US Presswire
Xavier Paul

After three days of hoping and mulling, the Dodgers have placed Andre Ethier on the disabled list with his fractured right pinky-tip (news via an e-mail from the Dodger PR staff), and called up outfielder Xavier Paul from Albuquerque.

Paul has an .808 OPS in 47 career major-league plate appearances. For the Isotopes, he came back from a one-day absence Sunday to go 3 for 5 Monday, raising his minor-league OPS this season to 1.030.

Ethier leads the National League in batting average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, OPS, adjusted OPS, total bases, home runs (tied) and RBI.

Elsewhere …

  • More questions about the McCourts are raised by Jon Weinbach of AOL Fanhouse and Josh Fisher of Dodger Divorce. If you like the words “slush fund,” this one’s for you.
  • On this day in 1960, the Dodgers released Boy of Summer hero Carl Furillo, and it did not go smoothly. “I’d like to play,” said Ol’ Skoonj. “But right now my only plans are to go fishing … and see my lawyer.” Details from Keith Thursby at the Daily Mirror.
  • Rich Lederer of Baseball Analysts argues that baseball analysts (hey, there’s that phrase again) should not lump infield flies with other batted balls for BABIP (batting average on balls in play) purposes. Lederer also finds that Clayton Kershaw has been No. 2 in baseball in 2009 and 2010 on strikeouts-plus-popouts per batter faced.
  • Trivia time: Former Dodger Takashi Saito has baseball’s fourth-longest streak of consecutive games (251) to start his career without allowing four runs, according to Stat of the Day. Now in his fifth season, Saito has never let it happen. Tom Niedenfuer (380) is fourth on the all-time list, and George Sherrill is 16th.
  • Former major-leaguer Morgan Ensberg uses a Houston Chronicle sports story to explain why athletes are reluctant to speak frankly to reporters.
  • Want to chat about tonight’s “Lost”? Here’s where to go – down below.

Update: From the Dodger press notes – “Last night, the Dodgers allowed three or fewer runs for the eighth straight game, the first time they have done so while winning all eight contests since June 10-18, 2003. The run also ties the longest such streak for any team managed by Joe Torre in his 29 seasons as a big-league manager. Torre’s 1998 Yankees pulled off this feat from June 2-10 of that year in the midst of a nine-game winning streak and on their way to 114 wins. The Dodgers had a 10-game winning streak while allowing three runs or less from April 20-30, 1980. … Los Angeles hurlers have held the opposition without an extra base in consecutive games for the first time since Sept. 5-6, 2008.”

May 17

‘Down in the Treme …’

I just really dig those “Treme” opening credits … anyway, if we get any bad news about Andre Ethier today, try to keep dancing.

  • The Dodgers went nine innings without a hit between sixth innings Saturday and Sunday, yet won both games. The Dodgers had three walks in that time, but were held hitless by Edward Mujica, Joe Thatcher and Wade LeBlanc for 29 batters — the last 3 2/3 innings Saturday and the first 5 1/3 innings Sunday.
  • Russell Martin has an .811 OPS in the No. 1 spot in the batting order this season despite being 0 for 10 leading off games.
  • Dodger pitcher John Ely enters tonight’s game having faced 59 batters since his last walk, notes Eric Stephen of True Blue L.A.
  • Ned Colletti gave Tim Dierkes a behind-the-scenes glimpse of the Milton Bradley-Andre Ethier trade, as part of the GM Initiation series at MLB Trade Rumors.
  • What’s going on with Casey Blake (besides aging)? Mike Petriello of Mike Scioscia’s Tragic Illness wonders.
May 16

Will Ethier snap back?

Yeah, better all prepare yourself …

  • From the Dodger press notes: “Dodger prospects Rafael Ynoa and Elisaul Pimentel are being praised in Midland, MI for their roles in saving a life earlier this week. (They were) passengers in a car en route to a doubleheader for the Single-A Great Lakes Loons on Sunday when a motorcyclist in front of them hit a turkey in the road and crashed. Ynoa, Pimentel and two others helped administer first aid until an ambulance arrived. The victim has recently come out of his coma and is starting to recover.”
  • Today is the 40th anniversary of the tragic day that a Manny Mota foul ball killed a young Dodger fan in the stands. Tom Hoffarth revisits for the Daily News.
  • In a separate story, Hoffarth writes about the Baseball Reliquary’s Lasordapalooza.
  • More anniversaries: It’s the 30th anniversary of Magic Johnson’s amazing Game 6 in the 1980 NBA finals, and here are his recollections for ESPN.
  • A three-run sixth inning Saturday put an end to a disappointing night for Albuquerque righty James McDonald: 5 2/3 innings, 10 hits, seven runs, three walks, six strikeouts. The Isotopes had 21 hits in a 12-11 loss.
  • In case you missed it, former Dodger Doug Mientkiewicz and the Marlins parted ways (news via MLB Trade Rumors).
  • Sigh – after this week, no “Parks and Recreation” until midseason on NBC. Michael Schneider of Variety has the Peacock’s fall schedule.
May 15

Kershaw LIX: Kershaws Clay

Joe Torre told reporters this afternoon that Russell Martin feels good but will probably rest instead of starting Sunday’s game, along with Casey Blake and possibly Manny Ramirez. Torre isn’t worried currently about resting Matt Kemp.

* * *

Good game between Houston and San Francisco this afternoon, one that I was able to watch with the sound down while I worked. Tim Lincecum started for the Giants and allowed a run (without a hit) in the top of the first. Roy Oswalt started for the Astros and surrendered a two-run homer to Juan Uribe in the fourth. And the score remained 2-1 until the ninth, when Brian Wilson relieved Lincecum after a 120-pitch, eight-inning effort. Houston loaded the bases on a walk, a charitable infield single and another walk, and then .378-OPSing Kazuo Matsui extended Wilson into a 15-pitch at-bat. But on his 39th pitch of the ninth, Matsui flied to left and the Giants hung on with their 159-pitch 2-1 victory.

* * *

The hottest pitcher and hitter in the Dodger minor leagues are both with Great Lakes, at least for now. Allen Webster, born February 10, 1990, struck out 11 in six innings Friday and now has 38 in 34 1/3 innings this season (against 36 baserunners) along with a 1.57 ERA.  Meanwhile, 22-year-old outfielder Jerry Sands homered again to give him 13 in 35 games, to go with a .459 on-base percentage and .813 slugging.

* * *

Vin Scully was interviewed on San Diego radio station AM 1090 Friday, and thanks to Eric Stephen of True Blue L.A.here’s the recording. The interview’s interesting in that it mainly allows Scully to just talk about the current Dodgers, something he probably prefers to talking about himself.

* * *

A warm welcome back to San Diego pitcher Kevin Correia, making his first start tonight since his 22-year-old brother Trevor’s tragic death.

* * *

Update: Looks like Andre Ethier’s the one who got stung. He jammed the pinky finger in his right hand in batting practice. Garret Anderson replaced him in the starting nine, in the relatively primo No. 5 slot.

May 14

Rafael Furcal doesn’t come off disabled list as expected


Joe Robbins/Getty Images
Rafael Furcal

Rafael Furcal was expected to be activated from the disabled list for tonight’s game, but the Dodgers just announced (via Twitter) a starting lineup with Jamey Carroll at shortstop again. Details to come.

Update: Tony Jackson of ESPNLosAngeles.com has the latest on Furcal:

… “I don’t know,” Furcal said when asked when would be activated. “They have to see. I just have to keep working on it and see when it gets better.”

Furcal played six innings defensively in each of two minor-league rehabilitation games with high Single-A Inland Empire on Tuesday and Wednesday.

“I felt it a little bit when I was playing there,” he said. “But afterward, I felt it a little bit more.”

Furcal said if it were his choice, he would have come off the DL and play despite the lingering discomfort. At the same time, though, he didn’t question the decision of the team’s medical staff to keep him sidelined a little longer. …

* * *

Ramon Ortiz starts for the Dodgers, with a full compliment of seven relievers behind him, thanks to Thursday’s day off. I don’t know if the Dodgers did this intentionally, but given the fact that the team was going to need a No. 5 starter at some point in the next five days, it makes sense to start your worst pitcher on the day your bullpen is completely rested.

May 12

Arizona’s acquisition of Edwin Jackson hasn’t paid off as hoped


Roy Dabner/AP
Has it really been almost seven years since Edwin Jackson’s thrilling debut against Arizona?

While the Dodgers were getting worked over by the press for not adding a premium starting pitcher during the 2009-10 offseason, the Arizona Diamondbacks were boldly going out to get 2009 American League All-Star Edwin Jackson (who starts tonight against the Los Angeles) for their rotation — trading, among others, one-time prized prospect Max Scherzer. Here’s what I wrote at the time:

My early reaction to the news that the Arizona Diamondbacks had traded away Max Scherzer was, “The Dodgers have the McCourts. What’s Arizona’s excuse?”

From what I could tell, almost all the thoughts about Tuesday’s trade, a three-way endeavor that included Arizona sending Scherzer and Daniel Schlereth to Detroit in exchange for the Tigers’ Edwin Jackson and the Yankees’ Ian Kennedy, matched mine. Why was Arizona giving up a lower-paid pitcher with a higher ceiling?

I know I’m not alone among Dodger fans in retaining a soft spot for former boy in blue Jackson, who had his best season last year and is still only 26. But I’ve been hearing for quite some time splendiferous things about Scherzer, who is 25, struck out more than a batter an inning in 2009 with an adjusted ERA of 111 (4.12 ERA) and will make millions less than Jackson in 2010.

If the Dodgers had made this kind of trade — a prized young pitcher sent away for short-term gain — anger would have blasted through the roof and finger-pointing would have zoomed through the hole in the roof that anger had created. It would have been an ugly day, at least on this website. Even though the Dodgers would be taking on more salary for 2010, the trade would have been seen as a short-sighted mortgaging of the future, another sign of a crumbling empire. (A similar scenario: Imagine the Edwin Jackson for Lance Carter-Danys Baez trade happening now.)

Yes, some would have defended the trade, just as some are pointing out that Scherzer might not have the build or mechanics to truly blossom as a starter, or that Kennedy still has rotation potential, or that Jackson should do even better in migrating back to the National League. But considering how negative the overall reaction is toward Arizona making this move, you can only imagine, in the context of the Dodgers’ current dysfunction, how harsh things would have been if Los Angeles had done it. …

So how has it all worked out?  As you might expect, not as expected.

Scherzer has a 6.81 ERA in seven starts for Detroit — and that’s lower than Jackson’s 7.32 mark for Arizona. However, Kennedy, the lesser of the starting pitchers to come in the trade, has a 3.48 ERA despite allowing a National League-high eight home runs. (Among others involved in the trade, Phil Coke and Austin Jackson have also done well for Detroit, while Schlereth is in the minors.  Curtis Granderson is mired in a lousy year, making the Yankees the big loser in the deal to date.)

In September 2003, Jackson made his major-league debut on his 20th birthday against Randy Johnson and won, on a night dimensionally more thrilling than John Ely’s besting of Dan Haren Tuesday. Tonight on the same field, he’ll be trying again to recapture those good vibes, while the Dodgers, who were held to two runs over six innings the only other time they have faced him (while he had a 7.85 ERA with Tampa Bay at the time), will try again to avoid looking bad for ever letting Jackson go in the first place.

* * *

Two notes from Stat of the Day: 2009 Dodger Will Ohman, who spent most of the year on the disabled list, has a 0.00 ERA after 11 innings with Baltimore (allowing four of 13 inherited runners to score), and No. 8 hitters for the Giants have an Andre Ethier-like 1.194 OPS this season, led by Nate Schierholtz.

* * *

Joined by my colleague Stuart Levine, I’m doing another live chat about all things TV today for Variety at 2:30 p.m. As of this moment, you can click the link and start sending your questions …