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.