Loss Of Chad Billingsley Leaves Los Angeles Dodgers In Unfamiliar Territory

By Thom Tsang
Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

If there was ever a team that’s getting a lesson in the full meaning of the old baseball adage ‘you can never have enough pitching’, it’s probably the 2013 Los Angeles Dodgers.

Eight arms for five spots — that was the thing about the Dodgers that kept being repeated going into the season, and even when the team finally did as expected and traded Aaron Harang away, they still had what could be considered one of the best problems in the game.

Well, now they have one of the worst.

After the news came out of Chad Billingsley‘s (totally expected, considering that his elbow was barely held together by PRP injections) need for season-ending Tommy John surgery, the team no longer has the abundance of riches on the mound that would allow them to get through it.

In fact, the team barely have enough pitchers to cover four spots. Righty Stephen Fife has been summoned to stop the bleeding as the Dodgers’ No. 4 pitcher for now, and will remain there until both Ted Lilly (who is hardly a sure thing himself) and Chris Capuano both return from the DL to fill out what could only be called a middling rotation, Clayton Kershaw or no.

That’s not a spot the team were prepared to find themselves in, and there’s very little room for the unexpected.

Could Capuano and Lilly suffice and hold together until Zack Greinke is ready to return? Perhaps, but if not, the team’s options are rather limited. Top prospect Zach Lee has dominated Double-A over four starts thus far, but he’s only 21 and has not thrown a pitch above that level.

Outside of Fife (who was hit pretty hard in his start on Sunday), the next in line is Matt Magill, who currently owns a 6.63 BB/9 over 19 innings in Triple-A.

In short, there’s a whole lot of question marks that could end up being relied on.

Perhaps it’s the way of the baseball gods, or perhaps it’s just a case of cruel irony; either way, the Dodgers may be one more significant injury away from taking a complete role reversal from seller to buyer on the pitching market.

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