Well, there are thousands of new skeptics-turned-experts out there. The controversy surrounding Torre's decision to tab Vicente Padilla as the Dodgers' Opening Day starter over the youngster Clayton Kershaw culminated in the struggle of Padilla to hit his spots in the early innings.
At no point on Monday did Padilla look effective as the Dodgers fell to the Pirates 11-5 at PNC Park. Padilla lasted just four and one-third innings while surrendering seven runs (all earned), three walks and two home runs, both by right-fielder Garrett Jones. The only defense for Padilla was giving way to Ramon Ortiz, as Ortiz also lacked effectiveness.
Ramon Ortiz managed just two-thirds of an inning while allowing two hits and a run.
But alas, there is hope for the Dodgers bullpen. Carlos Monasterios, Los Angeles young prospect that pitched his way on to the roster in the spring, continued his dominance. His pitches looked sharp, his delivery was fluid, and the numbers showed.
Monasterios was one pitcher for LA that doesn't stick out in the box score—in a GOOD way. He went one inning without incident and Torre will have more confidence bringing him in during the later innings.
Russ Ortiz looked sharp as well, following Monasterios with a shutout inning of his own and striking out a batter.
However, a new question mark, a new chip in the paint if you will, was George Sherrill's struggles as that delivery flaw reared its ugly dome. The coaching staff has been reviewing Sherrill's delivery and have noticed a consistent leg-lifting problem that causes the reliever to turn slightly as he delivers the ball.
Sherrill lasted only two-thirds of an inning before Torre gave him the hook. The "reliever" gave up three runs on a monstrous home run by Pittsburgh's Catcher Ryan Doumit.
The offense, however, showed significant signs of life for the Boys in Blue, but going 2-13 with runners in scoring position won't get it done.
Matt Kemp's single in to the hole at short scored two early, and early hits are often a good sign that a player is prepared for the regular season, although it isn't set in stone. Andre Ethier and Russell Martin had doubles, while Manny made solid contact and drove in two more with a base hit back up the box.
If the Dodgers want a speedy recovery, they should continue the offense from Monday, but the starting pitching and the bullpen need some serious TLC.
The Dodgers will have Tuesday off and will return to action on Wednesday. The game is set for 4:05 PT at PNC Park. Clayton Kershaw will toe the slab for the Dodgers against the Pirates' Russ Ohlendorf.
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