Dodgers @ Orioles April 21, 2013: Now Billingsley’s Hurt, Because of Course He Is

April 21, 2013 at 11:33 am | Posted in Game Threads | Leave a comment

camdenyardsI think we all knew Chad Billingsley‘s elbow was going to pop at some point — remember, we went through the lousy history of pitchers attempting to work through similar injuries in January — and the timing of that was going to depend only on what’s going inside in that arm, obviously, not on any outside influences.

So if we’d said before the season began simply that “Billingsley would go on the disabled list with elbow pain on April 21,” which he did today, I think we’d all have sadly shaken our heads and moved on with our lives, figuring that was inevitable anyway.

But if we’d said “also, that’s going to happen after Zack Greinke broke his collarbone and Aaron Harang was traded and Chris Capuano injured his calf and Ted Lilly is already scheduled and so it falls to Stephen Fife to prevent back-to-back sweeps against the Padres & Orioles, of all teams,” I think we’d all stop and laugh at the cruelty of the universe. I mean, what else can you do?

Dodgers
Orioles
LF
Crawford
LF
McLouth
2B
M.Ellis
3B
Machado
1B
Gonzalez
RF
Markakis
CF
Kemp
CF
Jones
RF
Ethier
1B
Davis
3B
Hairston
C
Wieters
C
A.Ellis
SS
Hardy
DH
Schumaker
2B
Flaherty
SS
Sellers
DH
Reimold

The scary thing is, this isn’t a result of poor planning. Whether out of an abundance of caution or just an inability to find a worthy deal, Ned Colletti hung on to seven of the eight starters this team had in camp, and it still wasn’t enough. Baseball is a cruel sport sometimes.

Besides, the truly frightening thing is what this means going forward, because now that you’ve dipped all the way down to get Fife, your depth is gone. That means that it’s not just “give Ted Lilly a start or two to see what he has left,” it means “oh lord, we really actually need to rely on Ted Lilly,” because if he fails before Capuano is healthy, it means you’re rushing prospects Matt Magill or Zach Lee, or making a panic trade. (And on that note — no, you can’t come back now and say that trading Harang for Ramon Hernandez was a mistake. You may not like Hernandez over Tim Federowicz, but no one could have foreseen what was about to happen to the rotation, losing three starters in ten days.)

We don’t yet know if Billingsley needs surgery, but I don’t see how he can be counted upon at all right now, and the questionable decision to forego a procedure last fall now looks worse than ever. If he’d had surgery then, he’d likely have been more than ready for the start of 2014; if it happens now, he’ll be limited well into next season. That’s all speculation for now until we know more, however.

It’s only April 21, and Greinke & Hanley Ramirez will be back. It’s too soon to panic and declare the season “over”, as far too many Dodger fans have already found fit to do. But it’s a bad situation, and with all of that hanging over the team, there’s still one more game in Baltimore to be played today. Jerry Hairston makes his first start at third base — really, whatever gets Luis Cruz out of the lineup is fine at this point, though I haven’t forgotten Hairston’s throwing problems — and Matt Kemp has been moved to cleanup. Happy now?

It’d be real nice if they could come away from this trip with at least one victory. I can’t say I’m crushed that I’ll be missing most of it while playing softball.

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