A Look at All the Dodgers Injuries

Juan Uribe wishes he could be as healthy as Matt Kemp

Yeah, that was my poor attempt at the brilliance that is Emo Juan Uribe.  Injuries seem to be up around the league this year (although I probably say that every year), and the Dodgers, amongst other teams, seem to be among the most snake-bitten.  Before the series with the White Sox, the Dodgers had lost Rafael Furcal, Casey Blake, Jonathon Broxton, Hong-Chih Kuo, Blake Hawksworth, Marcus Thames, Hector Gimenez, Vicente Padilla, and probably others that I’m forgetting about.  During the series, the Dodgers placed Juan Uribe on the DL (and brought Furcal off the DL), and during the last game, Andre Ethier and Rod Barajas were hurt and both will likely be placed on the DL.

I can show the significance in two ways.  First, the Dodgers expected opening day infield of Furcal, Blake, Uribe and James Loney have played a whole 2 games together.  Two out of 48 games together.  And that trend looks to continue with Uribe on the DL.  While Jamey Carroll has filled in more than admirably, you’d rather be able to start those 4 guys and have Carroll give Furcal and Blake regular days off.  In addition, the Bullpen has been wrecked as well.  Broxton, Kuo, and Padilla were expected to be mainstays in the bullpen for most of the year (the whole reason Padilla is in the Bullpen is because he was thought to be not durable enough to start).  While guys like Scott Elbert and Javy Guerra have filled in very well (surprisingly well), and Guerrier has been his usual durable self, the Bullpen as a whole has still been thin, as evidenced by the fact that Lance Cormier is somehow still on the roster.

But let’s look at it this way.  The Dodgers expected at the beginning of the year to have a lineup that looks like this: SS – Furcal, 3B – Blake, RF – Ethier, CF- Kemp, 1B – Loney, 2B – Uribe, C – Barajas, LF – JaMarcus Gwybbons Jr.  Today’s lineup could potentially only feature Furcal, Kemp, Loney, and Gwynn Jr./Gibbons.  That’s half of the lineup missing, and Gwynn/Gibbons aren’t exactly players you are expecting huge contributions from in the first place.  Going back to the infield, another thing to note is that while Uribe, Furcal, and Blake have all missed time with injury, James Loney has been really bad (although he’s slowly improving from “worst player on the team” to “well he could be better, but there’s bigger problems”).  That’s basically losing your entire infield to injury/ineffectiveness.  Now this year’s offense has been really bad, but I’d think it could be average-ish when everyone gets back (if everyone gets back).  Especially with the emergence of Jerry Sands, who could fill in for JaMarcus Gwybbons Jr. or James Loney very well.

The other side of the Dodger injury situation is what’s happened to the starting rotation.  Or rather, what hasn’t happened.  Of the 48 games the Dodgers have played, Clayton Kershaw, Chad Billingsley, Ted Lilly, Hiroki Kuroda, and Jon Garland have started 47 games.  That’s 2010 San Francisco Giants-esque.  The other start was made by John Ely, and he was passable.  To compare, last year, the Dodgers had started Kershaw, Billingsley, Kuroda, Padilla, Ely, Carlos Monasterios, and Charlie Haegar.  Not only have the starters for the Dodgers been in all but one game, the only team that has made more Quality Starts (at least 6 IP, no more than 3 ER) is the Philadelphia Phillies, aka, the best rotation in the history of baseball.

So what can Dodgers fans take from all the injuries?  Well, they should start by thanking the Baseball Gods everyday that the starting rotation hasn’t been hurt.  Then they should thank them for all the capable bullpen arms in the Minor Leagues.  Seriously, Dodgers fans need to appreciate just how good this rotation has been.  They should also appreciate just how good Matt Kemp has been, because besides Hitting Streak Ethier, Jerry Sands of last week, and Jamey Carroll, there hasn’t been much help on this year’s offense.  If Sands can continue to improve in the major leagues, and Ethier can get healthy and back to hitting, then the Outfield as a whole will be solid.  But the bottom line is that injuries have wrecked the infield, and drained the offense of capable hitters.  If the whole team gets healthy and stays healthy, this offense can support this pitching staff, and this team could make a run.  But that’s a lot of “ifs”, and it’s not wise to bet on all the “ifs” taking place.

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