Reds @ Dodgers May 26, 2014: Injuries, Kemp out, Vin sick

dodger_stadium_openingday2013Let’s just take a quick moment to recognize all those who sacrificed their lives for our freedom. Our soldiers are vastly under-appreciated, and there really should be more than two days per year we think about them. Thank you.

Now, it’s going to be tough for Hyun-Jin Ryu to live up to yesterday’s historic performance by Josh Beckett, but let’s not forget how good Ryu has been this season.

Aside from two poor starts, Ryu has given up zero or two runs in every other start this season (four times zero, two time two). Yes, his hits per nine innings rate is a bit high (9.2), but he’s striking out more batters this season (8.0 K/9) and his FIP (2.71) is lower than his ERA (3.00).

5:10pm PT
Los Angeles, CA
Cueto (R)
Ryu (L)

It was probably a blessing in disguise Ryu spent a couple weeks on the disabled list, as he pitched three of the first six Dodger games this season (you know, the thing they didn’t want to do to Clayton Kershaw). It was a built-in kind of rest, but it did subject us to more Paul Maholm than is medically recommended by doctors.

There hasn’t yet been any update on Hanley Ramirez‘s condition, but it’s pretty safe to assume his Achilles is dead. He could be DL-bound shortly, which is good news because he is obviously ailing and, seeing what he did last season in the playoffs, he’d try to play through the injury. That’d would, likely, result in a more serious injury. Erisbel Arruebarrena draws his third consecutive start. Through three games, he’s 3-for-10 with an RBI, walk and three strikeouts. He looked surprisingly competent at the plate on Sunday against A.J. Burnett.

If Ramirez being hurt weren’t bad enough, A.J Ellis sprained his ankle and is heading back to the disabled list. How did he do it? He stepped on Drew Butera‘s mask during the celebration of Beckett’s no-hitter yesterday. Tim Federowicz was recalled to take his spot on the roster. It’s a rough way to hit the disabled list, and those things happen. But let’s not all go up to the top floor of our nearest building to jump just yet. Butera has been significantly better on offense (and defense) than Ellis. His OPS is nearly 100 points better, and his pitch-framing is almost three runs better than Ellis’. It sucks because Ellis is a great guy and has more offensive ability than Butera, but Ellis being out probably isn’t as big a loss as it seems — that is, until offensive juggernaut* Butera remembers he’s not an offensive juggernaut.

If the Dodgers are without him for a significant amount of time (the ankle injury has been described as “severe”), they could hit the trade market looking for a backstop.

Consider the Dodgers somewhat lucky in this series, as Joey Votto is on the disabled list, Jay Bruce is sitting against the left-handed pitcher and the rest of the Reds’ lineup looks putrid. Even with the Dodgers’ injuries and seemingly reluctance to play Matt Kemp, their lineup looks 10 times better. Of course, they’ll probably score 10 runs today. If that happens, I’ll take the blame.

And on Kemp: I get it. He hasn’t played left field since 2006. But playing left field is easier to play than center field. Yes, there would be some adjustments he’d have to make, but he’s an athlete. It isn’t like he’s moving from center field to third base (hey, maybe that’s a … never mind). In all likelihood, Kemp isn’t taking the move well. But that’s still no reason to keep him out of the starting lineup for the fourth consecutive day.

It’s weird how “Kemp’s terrible defense” in center field suddenly became an issue. We’ve all known for years Kemp isn’t a center fielder, but for one game seemingly to be the catalyst for this move is odd. If there’s something else going on that we aren’t privy to, fine. But for a team that, despite what the numbers say, have struggled offensively at times this season, to not have its fifth-best offensive player (third, if you take out Ramirez and Scott Van Slyke) doesn’t make much sense. I mean, was Kemp’s defense in center field really as bad as, say, Ramirez’s at shortstop? Yet, there’s been no mention (by those in the know) of moving Ramirez off shortstop for a superior defense option. I know, it’s a different situation, but the comparison is somewhat apt.

This can’t be anything but bad, right?

In other surprising news, the Albuquerque Isotopes placed Alex Guerrero on the disabled list today. I’m not sure why it took so long, as initial reports have Guerrero being out at least a few weeks. And if things seemingly couldn’t get any worse, there’s this:

There is nothing more important in the organization than Vin Scully’s health. Get well soo, Vin.

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About Dustin Nosler

Dustin Nosler
Dustin Nosler began writing about the Dodgers in July 2009 at his blog, Feelin' Kinda Blue. He co-hosts a weekly podcast with Jared Massey called Dugout Blues. He is a contributor/editor at The Hardball Times. He graduated from California State University, Sacramento, with his bachelor’s degree in journalism and a minor in digital media. While at CSUS, he worked for the student-run newspaper The State Hornet for three years, culminating with a 1-year term as editor-in-chief. He resides in Stockton, Calif.