Dodgers @ Giants July 7, 2013: Kershaw vs Gaudin

July 7, 2013 at 4:08 pm | Posted in Game Threads | Leave a comment

attparkAs much as we liked the idea of the Dodgers trading for Ricky Nolasco and international signing money in exchange for some spare parts — or as Keith Law put it, “for some Olive Garden gift cards” — there was still the concern among some that Nolasco would bump Stephen Fife from the rotation rather than Chris Capuano. That’s not an unfair assumption, since Fife has options and Capuano does not, but for once the Dodgers are making the baseball decision rather than the roster one: Nolasco is going to start on Tuesday in Arizona while Capuano heads to the bullpen.

We don’t yet know how room will be made on the roster — short of a phantom DL stint for Brandon League, it’s almost certainly Jose Dominguez or Chris Withrow getting optioned — but it’s nice, because Nolasco is not only a rotation improvement, it’s a domino effect that strengthens the entire staff.

Dodgers
Giants
LF
Crawford
CF
Torres
RF
Puig
2B
Scutaro
1B
Gonzalez
3B
Sandoval
SS
Ramirez
1B
Posey
CF
Ethier
RF
Pence
3B
Uribe
SS
Arias
C
A.Ellis
LF
Gillespie
2B
M.Ellis
C
Quiroz
P
Kershaw
P
Gaudin

The team hasn’t really had a long option in the bullpen for a while, instead needing to rely on multiple relievers to pick up several innings at a time when starters get knocked out early. Having Capuano in the bullpen not only fixes that issue, it makes him a more effective weapon, for all of the same reasons that it made sense when I was saying he should have been in the bullpen back in February.

In the meantime, Clayton Kershaw is on the mound against the just-activated Chad Gaudin, while Matt Kemp sits again thanks to his sore shoulder. Don Mattingly expects Kemp to be available to play tomorrow, though honestly I’ll believe that when I see it. Without Kemp, Mattingly rolls out what is honestly the best lineup he has available to him at the moment. Juan Uribe‘s at third rather than Jerry Hairston or Nick Punto, and while Mark Ellis is in, he’s hitting eighth. Can’t really argue with any of that, can you?

Oh, and there’s this: we’ve talked a lot about how the Dodgers have skyrocketed their way to contention in the lousy NL West — hell, my latest at ESPN is about just that — but has anyone noticed how far first-half darlings San Diego have fallen? They’ve lost eight in a row (soon to be nine, since they’re down by seven runs to Washington) and 14 of 16. For a brief while, we thought perhaps they’d be buying to stay in the race. Now… not so much. It’ll be interesting to see if that changes the Chase Headley situation by the end of the month.

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