Doubleheader can weigh on a staff
NEW YORK -- In a brand new ballpark that was built to evoke images of the distant past, including an entry rotunda almost identical to that of old Ebbets Field, the Dodgers and New York Mets will pay homage to another of baseball's all-but-forgotten traditions on Tuesday.
Following Monday night's rainout, the two teams will play a twinight doubleheader at Citi Field, starting at 4:10 Eastern time. Not the modern kind, where you play a day game, kick everybody out, charge them another admission to come back and then play a night game. The old-fashioned kind, where people who buy a ticket to one game actually get to see two.
Of course, either type of doubleheader can play the same havoc with a pitching staff.
At first glance, the Dodgers and Mets are doing little to juggle their rotations. Hiroki Kuroda, who was to have pitched Monday night's game for the Dodgers, will pitch the opener. Charlie Haeger, who was to have pitched Tuesday night's game for the Dodgers, will pitch the nightcap. As for the Mets, scheduled Tuesday starter Johan Santana goes in Game 1, with scheduled Monday starter Oliver Perez in Game 2.
That sounds simple enough for now. But it's the trickle-down effect that catches up with you. First, it makes managing a bullpen especially challenging, not only on Tuesday but for several days thereafter. Second, it probably means the Dodgers, who don't have an off day until Monday, will need a sixth starting pitcher for the game on Saturday unless they bring either Kuroda or Haeger back on three days' rest.
Haeger would seem the more likely candidate for that because he is a knuckleballer, but it isn't clear at this point what the Dodgers plan to do.
This was the Dodgers' first rainout, by the way, since July 27, 2007, at Colorado.
The Dodgers haven't made one yet, but it appears right-hander John Ely is the guy whose contract will be purchased from Triple-A Albuquerque to start in place of Vicente Padilla in Wednesday's series finale with the Mets. He was lined up to pitch on Monday night at Omaha, but he was replaced by Tim Corcoran, whose previous six appearances had all come out of the 'pen.
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Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti and manager Joe Torre said the decision has been made, but neither was willing to disclose who that pitcher is. Torre said he couldn't rule out that it would be an in-house candidate. That could mean either Ramon Ortiz or Carlos Monasterios, relievers who each had a 2 2/3-inning outing during a three-game series in Washington over the weekend. But the fact Ely didn't start against Omaha would seem to suggest he is the guy.
Ely is 2-1 with a 3.00 ERA in three starts for Albuquerque.
After undergoing an MRI to determine the cause of the discomfort in his right forearm, Padilla was found to have an irritation of the radial nerve, an injury that is said to be very uncommon among pitchers. The treatment is rest and nerve medication, and there is no way of determining how long Padilla will remain on the disabled list until team medical officials see how he responds to that treatment.
"In the past, I have had something similar, but I was able to throw with it in the past," Padilla said, with Kenji Nimura translating. "In spring training, I had the same thing, but I was able to throw through the pain. This time, I can't even throw, so it's a little bit more serious. I don't know if it's in the tendon or the muscle, so I don't know what to expect."
Padilla was placed on the 15-day disabled list after Sunday's game at Washington.
Tony Jackson covers the Dodgers for ESPNLosAngeles.com.