Dodgers to Give Kershaw Extra Rest

The ramifications from rookie Rubby De La Rosa's season-ending Tommy John surgery will be evident for quite some time. The latest, a more subtle one, is that the Dodgers will give ace pitcher Clayton Kershaw an extra day of rest before his next start. Actually, all of the Dodgers starters will get an extra day of rest.

De La Rosa's next start was scheduled for Saturday. The Dodgers could have kept everybody on a normal four days rest and pushed the fifth spot back to Tuesday against the Phillies.

Before the Dodgers' 3-0 loss to the Padres on Wednesday, manager Don Mattingly was non-committal about who would fill De La Rosa's spot in the rotation. He did say Kershaw would start Sunday with five days of rest. Kershaw went the distance in his last start Monday, and he threw 125 pitches in the start before that. With the playoffs so far out of reach, there's no sense testing the limits of Kershaw's arm -- or anybody else's.

In his next start after Sunday, Kershaw will also get an extra day of rest. But after Aug. 25, the Dodgers have just one off day the rest of the season -- a stretch that includes 24 games in a row -- so he'll have plenty of starts on four days of rest.

Kershaw, 23, is second in the league with 161 1/3 innings, and seventh with 2,416 pitches thrown this year. He's never had an arm injury in his career.

The news on De La Rosa will linger in the Dodgers' minds whenever there's a decision about whether to let a starter go a little deeper in a game.

As Mattingly said, "I don't want to be a guy that's blowing arms out all over the place."

By giving Kershaw the extra day of rest, it sets up a matchup of 13-game winners Sunday: Kershaw vs. Arizona's Ian Kennedy.

In theory, John Ely could start Saturday. He's in the bullpen now as the team's long reliever, but it doesn't sound as if the Dodgers want to start a guy whose ERA was 5.43 at Class AAA Albuquerque before he was promoted this week.

Class AA Chattanooga right-hander Nathan Eovaldi is the odds-on favorite to start Saturday against the Diamondbacks. Eovaldi last started Monday, so he'd be on a perfect four days of rest. He was previously pushed back to start on the same days as Hiroki Kuroda in case of a trade. Eovaldi allowed two runs (one earned) in five innings in his last start. He's 6-5 with a 2.62 ERA and .203 opponents batting average.

The best starter at Albuquerque, Dana Eveland, pitched Tuesday. The second-best starter at Chattanooga, Steve Webster, started Wednesday.

NOTES, QUOTES
--RHP Javy Guerra, in addition to being 9-for-9 in save chances, has pitched a clean ninth inning six times. The initial batter he's faced was the tying run in seven of those outings.

--RHP Rubby De La Rosa will undergo season-ending Tommy John surgery Tuesday. The operation will be performed by Dr. James Andrews, the leading surgeon for that procedure in the country.

--LHP Ted Lilly had one of his best starts of the year, giving up one run in six innings Wednesday at San Diego. He was lifted for a pinch hitter in the seventh, trailing 1-0, the only run on a Jason Bartlett home run. In Lilly's previous two starts, the Dodgers had scored 16 runs. --C Dioner Navarro committed his sixth error of the season in the seventh inning, a wild throw into center field on a stolen-base attempt. That's tied for the sixth-most errors among all catchers, even though Navarro has started just 38 games.

BY THE NUMBERS: 4
-- Players in baseball history with more than 500 plate appearances and fewer than 20 RBI in a season. Dodgers INF Jamey Carroll could become the fifth, as he currently sits at 362 plate appearances and 10 RBI. The others are: Ron Hunt (1972 Expos, 531 PAs and 18 RBI); Gary Pettis (1989 Tigers, 536 PAs, 18 RBI); Luis Castillo (2000 Marlins, 626 PAs, 17 RBI); and Enzo Hernandez (1971 Padres, 618 PAs, 12 RBI).

QUOTE TO NOTE:
"I've been a big fan of James -- and I thought he'd hit home runs, but I've gotten away from that. Last year at the break, he had 25 doubles, six homers, 63 RBI. Is it that guy? That guy is fine, driving in 100, 110 runs. I don't care if he hits home runs. But since then, he has 50 RBI in 700 at-bats. Which way is it going? That's a tough call. It depends on what's going on around him. We have Matt (Kemp) and Andre (Ethier). I still feel we need another thumper. Where is the thumper at? Left field, third base, second base? Looking into the future, there's a missing piece." -- manager Don Mattingly, admitting that James Loney is no longer the starting first baseman. Between left field and first base, Mattingly has three players (Tony Gwynn, Jr., Juan Rivera and Loney) for two spots. Loney didn't start Wednesday for the third time in five games. Loney was introduced as a pinch hitter Wednesday, then lifted for a pinch hitter himself before he got into the batter's box after Padres manager Bud Black countered with a lefty reliever. --Sports XChange

Kershaw Pitcher of the Month
Dodgers starter Clayton Kershaw has been voted National League Pitcher of the Month for the month of July.

  In five July starts, the 2011 National League All-Star went 4-1 with a 2.02 ERA and an N.L.-leading 45 strikeouts in 35.2 innings of work. The young left-hander was tied for the N.L. lead in wins and had the third-lowest ERA among N.L. starters with at least 30.0 innings during the month, while his eight walks were the fewest by any pitcher with at least 30 strikeouts during the month.

After losing his first July decision, Kershaw bounced back to win four consecutive starts. On July 7th, the Texan tossed 8.0 shutout innings, striking out nine New York Mets hitters in an eventual 9-4 Dodgers' victory. After pitching a scoreless fifth inning for the N.L. squad in his first All-Star Game on July 12th, the 23-year-old began the second half of his 2011 campaign with a 7.0-inning, eight-strikeout victory in Arizona.

On July 20th, Kershaw excelled versus the defending World Series Champions, tossing 8.0 shutout innings and striking out a season-high 12 in a 1-0 win at San Francisco's AT&T Park. Kershaw allowed just three hits in the outing while walking one.

Kershaw, who was selected seventh overall in the 2006 First-Year Player Draft, continued his intra-division dominance on July 26th, earning his 12th win of the season with a 6.2-inning, six-strikeout effort against the visiting Colorado Rockies in which he threw a career-high 125 pitches.

In his final four starts last month, Kershaw went 4-0 with a 0.61 ERA (two earned runs in 29.2 innings pitched) while limiting opposing hitters to a .194 batting average (21-for-108) in that span.

The L.A. ace currently ranks second in the Majors and first in the N.L. with 177 strikeouts this season. His 161.1 innings are the second-most by an N.L. pitcher this season and his 2.68 ERA is the league's fifth-lowest. With 13 wins this year, he has already matched his previous career high. This is his first career monthly award.

  Condolances from a Giants Fan
As Jon Weisman pointed out in his enjoyable "Dodger Thoughts", Grant Brisbee, a Giants blogger (McCovey's Cove), wrote a neat column that underlines the relationship between the Dodgers and the Giants. Perhaps the brutal beating of a Giants fan outside Dodger Stadium underscored the rivalry as just that -- a rivalry, not a blood feud.

Here is what he wrote. If you like the sentiment, stop by his site (McCovey's Cove) and let him know.

The Dodgers Are Not Having A Good Season
"As a Giants fan growing up in the '80s, I went to baseball games in a concrete abomination known as Candlestick Park. The Dodgers had a quaint and airy ballpark. I stuffed tauntaun blubber down my jacket to stay warm during the day games. Dodgers fans wore short-sleeve shirts to the ballpark at night.

"I watched my team lose year after year. The Dodgers won every year. When the Giants did win something, it would be immediately followed by a sharp, piercing playoff exit. When the Dodgers made the playoffs, they'd skip through and win the World Series.

"So the dislike is true and pure, forged in the fires of youthful resentment and envy. Not a fan of the Dodgers. And I figured if they ever became the 1899 Cleveland Spiders -- earning every bit of a 20-134 record -- it would be delightful. When the McCourt madness started happening, it was somewhat amusing.

"When Selig took financial control of the Dodgers, it was hilarious. And then there were allllll those losses. The German word for taking pleasure in the suffering of others is schadenfreude, and this season has been the freudiest.

"At this point, though: enough. We get it.

"The tipping point was Rubby De La Rosa needing Tommy John surgery. Fans of under-.500 teams are people too. They have certain rights -- things you can't take away.

"And the most important, inalienable right of the fan of a bad team is the right to watch a top prospect's rookie season. The Royals, for example, have stunned the world by not contending, but every Royals fan in the world can turn on a TV and watch Eric Hosmer and Danny Duffy and Mike Moustakas play. The performances are up and down, but that's not the point. The point is that they can watch a bad team and project how the prospects will be responsible for the eventual turnaround.

"De La Rosa came up and featured a right-handed repertoire that the Dodgers hadn't seen from one of their young pitchers since the days of Eric Gagné. And then as quickly as he was up, he was gone in a puff of smoke.

"That's not right. I know I'm supposed to be a partisan fan of a team in a historic rivalry ... but, come on ... really, when Rubby went down ... that's too much."

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