Time to face facts: Edinson Volquez will start tonight’s game

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While I understand that Don Mattingly‘s decision to start Edinson Volquez in tonight’s series finale with the Rockies at Coors Field — the ballpark pictured here from an intersection beyond center field — is about as popular with Dodgers fans as, say, changing the official team colors to orange and black, my objective this morning is to talk you all off the ledge.

Look, this was going to happen sometime. And while I get that the Dodgers are still, technically, in a pennant race — we’re all reminded it of it every night in the clubhouse, where every player dutifully spouts all the cliches about how this team still has to take care of business — they also have a 13 1/2-game lead and a magic number of 12 with 24 games to go. So really, what’s the harm is giving this guy the ball and seeing if the mechanical stuff he has been working on with Rick Honeycutt since he joined the Dodgers a few days ago is actually working?

And if the front four starters all get an extra days’ rest at a point in the season when you know they’re all tired — and fifth starter Chris Capuano gets a whopping nine days’ rest before his next start — with the playoffs now a month away, that’s all the better.

And what if Volquez actually goes out tonight and pitches well? And even if he doesn’t — he has a career 8.39 ERA in seven starts at Coors, and in his most recent start here for the Padres less than a month ago, he gave up eight earned on nine hits over 4 1/3 — so what? At least Mattingly and Honeycutt and general manager Ned Colletti will have their answer.

Know this: Volquez isn’t pitching for a spot in the playoff rotation. There isn’t room. Heck, there isn’t even room for Capuano in that. So don’t worry about it. Mattingly won’t commit beyond tonight on what Volquez’s role will be, so if this experiment blows up in the lab, you can rest somewhat assured that you want have to watch it again.

There’s no way to stop it. So cross your fingers, hope for the best and sit back and see what happens. And hey, look at it this way: if it goes really, horribly awry, you can always take comfort in the fact that in this particular instance, you were smarter than Colletti, Mattingly and Honeycutt put together.

19 comments

  1. I’m just glad we have an expanded bullpen at this point. The “A” list relievers are probably pretty well used up right now so we may very well get a long look at some of the 2nd and 3rd tier guys today. Do you suppose they would use Capuano in long relief if Volquez gets pounded early?

  2. Yes – Coors Field has been a house of pain for us Dodger fans (especially when Dante Bichette, Vinny Castilla, Walt Weiss and Andres Garrelaga were playing there). At least Nomo threw a no-hitter there. The only other place that is more despised is perhaps Candlestick park.

    Regarding Volquez – this isn’t the first time it looks like Mattingly is trying to lose the game. Usually it seems like he does that by the lineups he sends out before the game.

  3. My biggest nightmare isn’t letting Edinson Volquez pitch tonight. My biggest nightmare is if he pitches really, really well.

  4. Do you think the Dodgers ought to be concentrating on gaining best record in the league for home field advantage in the postseason, while they still trail the Braves by 2 games? Or does it not matter so much?

    • I think it matters. It’s a big advantage – not just because of home field, but because it means you play the NLDS against a tired wild card team who probably burned their best starter in order to win the wild card game.

      On the other hand, I can understand the desire to let the players get some rest during the last month of the season, so they’re ready to go when the playoffs begin.

  5. Honeycutt thought he saw flaws in Volquez he could fix. If he can do that we have another proven big league arm available and we all know YOU CAN’T HAVE TOO MUCH PITCHING. If it doesn’t work we’re not out anything, but at least we tried. I hope he has a great game and can be a help in the post season.

  6. Dodgers have won 28 of 33 on the road. I don’t think there’s a ballpark on earth where they couldn’t win right now. More important that the Dodgers line things up for October with a rested, deep team than strive for best record. As it stands the Dodgers can clinch simply by playing .500 baseball the rest of the way and they’ve played .800+ ball since June 22nd. Rest is more important than home field.

    • See above. The big advantage to being the top seed isn’t the home field advantage; it’s playing the wild card winner in the NLDS. And that advantage is HUGE.

  7. I am curious to see what happens in the next 2 series vs. the Reds and D’Backs. Dodgers haven’t played in a series against a team above .500 since the Red Sox, which they lost. Although to be fair their best pitchers weren’t going up against the BoSox. But out of the last 14 series they play this season, only 3 of those will be against teams with a record above .500. They haven’t beat a team with an above .500 record since the Rays series which was early August. Hope the lack of high level competition doesn’t make them overconfident. These upcoming 2 series should at least be a slightly better gauge. Regardless, I think they will get amped for the postseason…just hope they’re healthy & prepared for the much stiffer competition.

    • Not so sure I agree with that. Going back to Dodgers last 3 series before Boston-they won 3 out 4 against the Reds in LA, 3 of 4 from the Cardinals in St. Louis and swept the Rays in LA when the Rays had been red hot themselves. That Boston series was an anomaly in that neither Greinke nor Kershaw pitched in the series and Ryu had perhaps his shakiest outing of the year. Boston had Lackey and Lester both going. It will be really hard to determine any possible winning percentage in the playoffs for the Dodgers since they have essentially played 2 seasons by looking at the splits before the streak started and since the streak began. They play more road games (31) in August & September than home games (25) so unless they win out at home, they probably can’t finish with the best record at home in the NL. Since the Braves finish with home series against the Padres, Phillies and Brewers they aren’t going to see tough competition either so will probably build on their NL best 51 road wins. Also-the Braves are only a .500 team on the road this year.

  8. I think that it is good to get the front 4 an extra day of rest. However the Braves are 51 – 19 at home and .500 on the road this season. The other 3 playoff teams are also much better at home than on the road. That makes me think that the Dodgers need to fight for the best record. It is what it is but I hope they have him on a short leash and if it doesn’t work, they do what they can to win.

  9. The Mets won so this experiment wont hurt us if it blows up in our face, but if it goes well, we gained a game on the braves.

  10. I’m just hopeful that we will use less relief tonight, than the EPA did after the Exxon Valdez incident.

    Go Get Em’ Volquez!!