Opinion of Kingman's Performance

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Now That’s More Like It

Adrian Gonzalez hits a walk-off double in today's 5-4 win over Arizona  (photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

For the second consecutive day the Dodgers pulled out a 1-run win.  Today’s thrilling walk off double from Adrian Gonzalez was reminiscent of so many similar victories that occurred earlier in the season.  It put the Dodgers 1/2 game back in the wild card race behind St. Louis and kept them within striking distance of San Francisco, 4 1/2 back in the NL West.

With 27 games remaining on the season, the Dodgers are in prime position to make the playoffs.  The ultimate goal is always the division crown, but with the Wild Card there for the taking, it’s a nice fall back position.  I’ll put our no. 1 starter against any other no.1. ace in the league in a one game playoff.  The wildcard isn’t a real disadvantage for this team, since we all know that anybody can get hot once post season play begins.  Getting to the post season is the key and the Dodgers are on the cusp of that.

Dodgers celebrate (photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
There is no doubt that the remaining schedule is tough, but this team has won on the road and battles with Cincinnati, Washington and San Francisco away from home are not going to deter this team that is now undefeated in September.  A couple of wins can change the entire make-up of the season, and they have.  Confidence is a funny thing, and going into the San Diego series with a 2 game winning streak has to have these guys thinking positively.

Billingsley Status, Who knows?

Arash Markazi of ESPN Los Angeles reported today that Don Mattingly said in pre-game talk that Chad Billingsley is feeling less pain.  He’ll receive another platelet-rich plasma injection with hopes that he feels good enough to pitch again this year.  I don’t know what that means.  If the man needs Tommy John surgery, it’s probably best that he gets it and starts the recovery for next year, but the medical staff will have to review his progress and make a decision.  I hope it is soon.   

We have got a lot of mixed messages on Billingsley’s health.  First there was no sign of tendon damage after the initial examination.  Then they needed to wait for the swelling to subside for another examination.  That was followed by statements from Stan Kasten that he believed that Billingsley most likely needed TJ surgery.  Then there was a report that he was getting a 1st platelet-rich plasma injection with hopes that he could pitch again.  Now we hear that maybe he’ll be back, but he’ll need another injection.  Sounds like a circus to me.

I don’t think we can count on Billingsley’s return this year.  Let’s see Jon Ely get a start.  I think he might surprise a lot of us.

On Jon Ely

What many seem to forget about Ely was that when he burst on the scene in 2010 with several consecutive quality starts he fell off the map in effectiveness due to an undisclosed illness that weakened him substantially.  After winning 3 of his first four starts, Ely tailed off.  He returned to Albuquerque and toiled with a 5.66 ERA the rest of the way.  He lost twenty pounds and his strength was gone.   If I recall correctly, it was a significant flu or mononucleosis that hit him hard. 
Jon Ely in 2010 (photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
This year, he has been completely healthy and dominating as the PCL pitcher of the year in hitter friendly Albuquerque (14-7, 3.20 ERA , 165 Ks in 168 IP).  I would say he is ready.  He was by far the most effective starter on the Isotopes staff.  He could easily fill in as the no. 5 guy in Los Angeles.  Then there is the surprise factor that he has going, taking on major leaguers that aren’t familiar with his stuff.  I hope we see him in action as I'm eager to see how much he has improved in the last two years.

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