Monday, March 03, 2008

Kurkjian Likes the Dodgers' First Four Starters

It isn't a groundbreaking piece, but Tim Kurkjian's latest ESPN article (which Orel already referenced here on our own Chad Billingsley) likes the promise of our #1 through 4 pitchers. [Sorry for the double post to Tim K; that's what I get for drinking all weekend long.]

The best Dodgers teams of the past 50 years, and the best teams managed by Joe Torre, have been built predominantly on starting pitching. And now Torre is trying to do the same with the 2008 Dodgers. Los Angeles doesn't have a Sandy Koufax, and it doesn't have a Roger Clemens-Andy Pettitte-David Cone trio. But Torre's eyes twinkle when he says, "Our rotation has a chance to be pretty good."

It starts with Brad Penny, who finished third in the National League Cy Young voting last year. Then there's Derek Lowe. "I love Derek Lowe," Torre said. "With him, it's just 'Give me the ball and leave me out there until you think I'm tired.'" Then there's Chad Billingsley. "He's special," Torre said. Then there's Hiroki Kuroda, who made his spring debut Friday.

Kuroda, according to a source in Japan, is more equipped in every way to handle pitching in the U.S. than Daisuke Matsuzaka was. And Kuroda won't have nearly the pressure Dice-K has.

The article goes on to discuss how Billingsley has nice legs and Kuroda has a nice voice.

Now, about that fifth spot...Esteban Loiaza? He of the 13.50 ERA performance Friday? I'm surprised Kurkjian didn't mention a four-man rotation. I sure think Torre's thinking about it already.