And while one shouldn't read too much into that -- Kuroda bad, Kershaw good -- it does plant the thought that perhaps bringing up the youngster is the right one.
The Dodgers are attempting to make the decisions with Kershaw's best interests in mind, but as the field of possible fifth starters dwindles down, the best interests of the team must also be considered.
Esteban Loaiza, who starts Saturday, has been up and down as has Jason Johnson. Hong-Chih Kuo is still pitching one inning at a time so the spotlight is on Chan Ho Park, with his seven scoreless innings on the books.
There is still an arm-load of games left on the schedule and Kershaw will be given the closest of examinations.
Twenty-two year old Blake DeWitt will not make the starting roster and never expected to but the youngster has opened some eyes both with his bat and with his glove.
He went 3-for-4 with a triple and his second home run in five games, knocking in three runs and starting an inning-ending double play.
Mark Sweeney, back in action after setting it out with a bad knee, singled twice as did rookie shortstop Ivan De Jesus.
Kuroda, after allowing six hits in the second, including three doubles, watched as the Dodgers tied the game in the top of the third.
With one out, Andre Ethier walked and Russ Martin singled to center. James Loney knocked on the first run with a single to right and Sweeney scored Martin with another single.
DeWitt then launched his triple to right field to tie the score but was nailed attempting to steal home.
Kuroda allowed an unearned run in the second when Delwyn Young made a throwing error on the first Houston batter.
And with Scott Proctor on the mound in the fourth, a single, stolen base, throwing error by Russ Martin and a sac fly allowed the Astros a 7-5 lead.
Kershaw took over in the fifth and quickly coughed up a double. He issued a one-our walk and Luis Maza, who replaced Young at second base, made an error to load the bases. DeWitt saved the day, grabbing a line drive an throwing to second base to record an unassisted double play.
Kershaw allowed a walk in the fifth but ended the inning by picking the runner off. He faced eight men in his two innings, allowing one hit and walking a pair but didn't record a strikeout.
Rudy Seanez made his first outing of the spring a solid one, retiring Houston 1-2-3 in the seventh.
The Dodgers had a couple chances in the seventh and ninth innings but couldn't cash them in.
Martin walked and Sweeney singled with one out in the seventh but Maza bounced into a double play. In the ninth, Carlos Santana singled but this time Maza lined into a double play.
Alfredo Simon worked a scoreless eighth.
Simon finally battled through visa problems and arrived in Dodgertown, making his first appearance in the ninth inning against Houston. Simon turns 27 in May, and he made 22 starts in AAA for Oklahoma. In 119 innings he allowed 85 earned runs (6.43 ERA) and walked 46 while striking out 73. His career ERA in the minors is 5.03.
It was a tough day for Delwyn Young. He made a pair of throwing errors, was caught stealing and and when he did reach base by a walk, he was picked off.
Three straight losses, all under on Tom Lasorda's watch, and they will host the St. Louis Cardinals Saturday (Today) with RHP Esteban Loaiza, RHP Jonathan Broxton, LHP Joe Beimel, and RHP Yhency Brazoban scheduled to pitch.
Score by innings Los Angeles 005 000 010-6 Houston 051 100 00x-7 Los Angeles ab r h bi ave Young 2b-rf 4 0 0 0 .121 Ethier lf 2 1 0 0 .257 Hoffman pr-lf 0 0 0 0 1.000 Martin c 3 1 1 0 .222 Bennett c 1 0 1 0 .267 Loney 1b 5 1 1 1 .300 Sweeney dh 3 1 2 1 .214 Santana ph-dh 1 0 1 0 1.000 Repko rf 3 1 1 1 .240 Maza 2b 2 0 0 0 .000 DeWitt 3b 4 1 3 3 .333 De Jesus ss 4 0 2 0 .235 Logan cf 4 0 0 0 .000 Totals 36 6 12 6 Houston 32 7 8 6 Errors- Young 2 (3), Martin (1), Maza (2). 2b hits—Repko (2), 3b hits- DeWitt (1) HR- DeWitt (2). RBI- Loney (3), Sweeney (3), Repko (8), DeWitt 3 (4). CS- Young (2), DeWitt (1). DP- DeWitt. LOB- Los Angeles (11), Houston (6). Los Angeles in h r-er bb so era Kuroda (1-1) 3.0 6 6-5 1 2 7.00 Proctor 1.0 1 1-0 0 1 2.25 Kershaw 2.0 1 0-0 2 0 2.25 Seanez 1.0 0 0-0 0 0 0.00 Simon 1.0 0 0-0 1 0 0.00 HBP- Ethier, Sweeney. Balk- Simon. T- 3:01. Att- 4,189.Abreu Cleared
Tony Abreu was given a clean bill of health by his doctor in Philadelphia, and the infielder took batting practice and ground balls. The talented young infielder could be an important cog in the scheme of things with Andy LaRoche out until May and Nomar Garciaparra still nursing an injured hand. Abreu is an accomplished infielder, including third base, and there is certainly time for him to get ready for action.
Dodger Blue Notes-- Dodger first base coach Mariano Duncan celebrated his 45th birthday in Beijing.