Going into spring training, Dodger fans new damn well we didn't trade for a big bat, exacerbating a power void caused by an aging third baseman and a low-HR first baseman, both of whom are coming off of a down year in 2010. Left field looks to be an cornucopia of second-tier players, one of whom might impress, in the most optimistic of scenarios.
And we hoped that our right fielder would hit 2011 with a restored pinky finger, our center fielder would come back with renewed focus, our shortstop would overcome his age and our new second baseman would be better than his .248 batting average might have one believe. And even at the catcher's spot, the hope was just to find a player who could surpass the low standards held by the prior occupant over the last tow years.
But at least we had our pitching, right? Chad Billingsley, Clayton Kershaw, Ted Lilly, Hiroki Kuroda, and then Jon Garland and Vicente Padilla fighting it out for the fifth slot. At least we had a 1 through 5 that was pretty solid.
Except that, two weeks into spring training games, Padilla is already looking at a May debut thanks to elbow surgery, and now Garland looks like he's got an oblique injury, and if today's MRI results confirm the oblique injury, he too will be out for a month plus.
MSTI said there's no such thing as pitching depth. But just looking at the next batch of candidates that could potentially fill that fifth slot--Carlos Monasterios, John Ely, Blake Hawksworth, Tim Redding-it doesn't give one a lot of confidence in our chances. And what if one of the four remaining starters also gets hurt? Suddenly the only leg on which we have to stand looks pretty damn shaky. And GM Ned Colletti's strategy to build up only one side of our resources might be a badly failed gamble.
In the few spring training games we've seen, save a couple of recent outings, it appears that the Dodgers' offense isn't going to scare anyone. We were barely winning games in which we were holding opponents to a run or two. And now, if the pitching staff is already showing some leaks in the hull, and we get in a situation where we need four or more runs to win: we're in trouble, people.
This could be a really difficult start out of the blocks--assuming one of the two can make it back soon, that is. Let's hope this MRI's results doesn't show anything too disruptive. Cross your fingers.
UPDATE 9:47a: Yep, it's a strained oblique, "somewhere between major and minor", whatever the hell that means. Garland is out for four to six weeks and will start the season on the DL.