Dodgers Look to Rotation for Future

The Dodgers can justifiably look into a future and feel very happy with a starting rotation of Clayton Kershaw, Chad Billingsley and Rubby De La Rosa. Even if it was against a lineup with five players entering the game with an on-base percentage of .300 or below, De La Rosa turned in the best of his five major league starts on Wednesday, giving up one run in seven innings.

The rotation future might look bright, but the current picture looks bleak.

That one run, on a triple and groundout in the first inning, was the only run of the Twins' 1-0 win over the Dodgers. After scoring 15 runs in the series opener, the Dodgers still lost two of three games.

Manager Don Mattingly's goal of reaching .500 by the All-Star break will require a 10-game winning streak. They are 36-46, and left the visiting clubhouse at Target Field all alone in last place in the National League West.

It was the 25th time they've scored one run or been shutout. That's in 82 games, or 30 percent of the time.

At least De La Rosa gives them optimism. He's only 22 years old. This is only his second year pitching in the United States.

The comparisons to Kershaw are natural because they reached the majors so quickly. A few differences are that Kershaw was 20 and heavily hyped, while De La Rosa has to deal with cultural obstacles and made three relief appearances before joining the rotation.

Nonetheless, here's a comparison of Kershaw's first five starts to De La Rosa's:

Kershaw: team went 3-2, he went 0-1, 24 innings, 23 hits, 10 runs, 10 earned, 15 walks, 21 strikeouts, two home runs.

De La Rosa: team went 2-3, he went 2-3, 27 2/3 innings, 28 hits, 15 runs, 15 earned, 17 walks, 26 strikeouts, three home runs.

NOTES, QUOTES --INF Aaron Miles, who didn't start Wednesday, has a remarkable .419/.418/.500 June slash line. It's very rare to have a batting average higher than an on-base percentage. That's the result of two walks and three sacrifice flies.

--SS Rafael Furcal went 2-for-4, both singles, and scored three runs Wednesday for Class A Rancho Cucamonga. Furcal was 5-for-15 with three walks and nine runs scored in four rehab games. The Dodgers will discuss whether to activate Furcal from the disabled list for Friday's game in Anaheim. He didn't play second base, so it would appear that Dee Gordon would be returned to the minors whenever Furcal is activated.

--RHP Matt Guerrier pitched a scoreless innings Tuesday against the Twins, his previous team. Guerrier earned some bragging rights with three straight groundouts, including a cracked bat of former teammate Michael Cuddyer.

--OF Trayvon Robinson and LHP Dana Eveland were named to the Triple-A All-Star Game, representing the Pacific Coast League.

--INF Preston Mattingly, son of manager Don Mattingly, was promoted to Class A Rancho Cucamonga. Mattingly was batting .229/.255/.458 at low Class A Great Lake. At age 27, he stopped being a prospect a few years ago.

BY THE NUMBERS: 101
-- Most pitches by a Dodger in a game, without striking out a batter, in this century. It was done by Carlos Perez on May 3, 2000. Ted Lilly came close to beating that obscure note by throwing 81 pitches Tuesday night without striking out a batter (or walking a batter). The last Dodgers starting pitcher with no strikeouts and no walks was Chad Billingsley on July 17, 2009.

QUOTE TO NOTE:
"It's kind of really been our story. For the most part we've been able to put a couple games together, three, looks like we might get something going here or there, and then we just seem to fall back. Obviously we're going to need to win tomorrow and keep trying to put this thing together." -- Manager Don Mattingly, after another two-game winning streak was followed by a two-game losing streak.

*M*A*S*H 4077 MEDICAL WATCH:
--RHP Jonathan Broxton (bone bruise on right elbow) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to May 4. He threw a bullpen session June 7. He made rehab appearances on June 21 and 23 for Class AAA Albuquerque, but he felt tightness in his elbow when playing catch June 25. He was shut down from throwing until late July.

--C Rod Barajas (sprained right ankle) went on the 15-day disabled list June 19. He will play minor league rehab games July 2-3, and he could be activated as soon as July 4.

--SS Rafael Furcal (strained left oblique muscle) went on the 15-day disabled list June 4. He was getting ready to go on rehab assignment, but as of June 22, the switch-hitter still could not swing a bat from both sides without pain. He began rehab assignment with Class A Rancho Cucamonga on June 26. He could be activated as soon as July 1.

--RHP Jon Garland (right shoulder inflammation) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to June 2. He played catch June 21 but had to shut it down quickly.

--RHP Vicente Padilla (right radial nerve irritation) went on the 15-day disabled list May 14. He began a rehab assignment with Class A Rancho Cucamonga on May 29, but was shut down in early June due to a neck ailment. He underwent neck surgery June 16, and he will likely miss the rest of the season.

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