Brewers @ Dodgers April 27, 2013: Stay Safe, Matt Magill

April 27, 2013 at 7:27 pm | Posted in Game Threads, Matt Magill | Leave a comment

dodger_stadium_2013_150x150Ah, 2013. You’re just the season that keeps on giving, aren’t you? Today’s spin of the giant wheel of injury lands on Stephen Fife, who came down with shoulder bursitis and finds himself joining Chris Capuano, Zack Greinke, and practically everyone else on the disabled list rather than starting tonight.

That means that just 23 games into the season, the Dodgers are forced to call on their ninth starting pitcher, 23-year-old righty Matt Magill. I’m not sure whether to laugh or to cry at this point, honestly. It’s like one of those jokes that gets killed through repetition, then keeps happening so long that it comes back around to being funny again. Or at least that’s what I’m telling myself while wondering how long it’ll be until Rick Honeycutt just heads on out to the mound himself.

Brewers
Dodgers
RF
Aoki
LF
Crawford
CF
Gomez
C
A.Ellis
LF
Braun
RF
Ethier
3B
Betancourt
CF
Kemp
2B
Weeks
2B
Schumaker
C
Maldonado
1B
Hairston
1B
Lalli
SS
Cruz
SS
Gonzalez
3B
Uribe
P
Peralta
P
Magill

Magill, who will wear #36 tonight, has all of four starts above Double-A after leading the Southern League with 168 strikeouts last year, and had his latest start cut short after 3.2 innings after the Dodgers learned Fife was hurting. In a twopart piece for the Albuquerque Examiner a few days ago, our friend Chris Jackson spoke to the former 31st rounder pick about acclimating to Triple-A:

Magill has moved methodically through the Dodgers’ system, spending one full year apiece in the rookie Gulf Coast League (2008), rookie Ogden (2009), Low-A Great Lakes (2010), High-A Rancho Cucamonga (2011), Chattanooga and now Albuquerque. At the very least, it has taught him patience and also how to survive as a pitcher in the various environments in those leagues.

“I think that’s huge for a young guy learning how to pitch,” Magill said. “Like in Midland (Mich.), the cold weather, it was tough. Being from California, the first games were snowing on us, I’m like, ‘This isn’t baseball weather, we don’t do this here.’

For more on Magill, check out Chris Blessing’s scouting report at Bullpen Banter from last summer, noting that Magill doesn’t have a “plus pitch” but gets by on solid command of a full arsenal. If he doesn’t have that command tonight, or nibbles around the zone, he could be in trouble. Either way, we need to remember that this is a kid who has been put in a tough situation by an insane amount of injuries, so expectations should be measured. That said, with a day off coming up next week, Capuano working his way back, and a tattered Albuquerque rotation — seriously, Javy Guerra is their #1 starter right now — it’s probably more likely than not that Magill is up for tonight only no matter how he does.

Not exactly helping Magill is the fact that he’s worked with A.J. Ellis for only a single bullpen session in the spring, but at least there’s good news there: for the first time since July 3 of last year, and for just the sixth time in his career, Ellis is batting second. That’s something we’ve long wanted around here, and I’m truly hoping it’s for more than just a night. (Get your “Don Mattingly had just pre-printed lineup cards with Ellis second before Mark Ellis got hurt” jokes out of the way now, please.)

Mark Ellis, however, has not been placed on the disabled list yet, so it looks like the club will be a man short tonight. With Skip Schumaker playing second base and Luis Cruz & Juan Uribe manning the left side, that means the bench is only Nick Punto, Jerry Hairston, Justin Sellers, & Ramon Hernandez. Uninspiring at best, to be sure, and I’m honestly not sure why no move has been made yet. At least help is on the way — Hanley Ramirez is leading off and playing shortstop for the Single-A Rancho Cucamonga Quakes tonight.

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