Commentary

Haeger's effort hardly gets started

Knuckleballer's night ends after only 22 pitches and no outs in a 8-0 loss for Dodgers

Updated: May 9, 2010, 3:03 PM ET
By Ramona Shelburne | ESPNLosAngeles.com

LOS ANGELES -- There's probably no good way for a starting pitcher to get knocked out of a game without recording a single out. But if you're going to be epically ineffective, at least it's going to be pretty memorable.

Dodgers starting pitcher Charlie Haeger was yanked after only 22 pitches in Saturday's 8-0 loss to the Rockies. He faced five batters, walked three of them and watched all five of them come across the plate to score. Fourteen of his 22 pitches were balls.

He did not record a single out.

"Things happen quickly. When he wasn't getting the knuckleball over you had the walks. Then when he was they were getting hits," manager Joe Torre said. "It was one of those Catch 22s where you had nowhere to go."

The last time that happened to a Dodgers pitcher?

It was Aug. 8, 1988, when then-manager Tom Lasorda pulled right-handed pitcher Shawn Hillegas after only 17 pitches -- eight of which were strikes -- in a 10-0 loss to the Astros.

"They just knocked the daylights out of him and I said, 'Well, doesn't look like he's got it today' so I pulled him," Lasorda recalled. "He wasn't struggling that bad. He was struggling because he couldn't get the ball over."

After the game Haeger seemed frustrated but understanding of his manager's decision.

"I understand the hook," he said. "I've pitched a lot of games in my life, where, being a knuckleballer, every once in a while you don't have it in the first inning, or you're trying to find it.

"I've had plenty of games where I've given up four in the first and ended up going seven innings. But, I understand the hook. You let the first five guys reach base and you're down 4-0 with nobody out, maybe it's time to make a change."

Options?

Haeger is out of minor league options, meaning he'd have to clear waivers if the Dodgers optioned him back to Triple-A Albuquerque to, say, make room for Thursday's latest pitching hope, John Ely.

Could he instead be heading to the disabled list?

Torre certainly laid the groundwork for such a move in his postgame comments.

"I'll check with him tomorrow to see if anything is going on because he didn't look as comfortable as he did the other day," Torre said. "I don't know if there's something bothering him or not, but we'll find out tomorrow."

Ethier still streaking

Dodgers right fielder Andre Ethier went 3-for-3 to raise his average to a major league leading .394. It is the ninth straight game in which he has hit safely.

His 32 RBIs lead the majors and his 10 home runs lead the National League. Former Dodger Paul Konerko of the White Sox leads the majors with 12 home runs.

Ramona Shelburne is a columnist and reporter for ESPNLosAngeles.com. Information from ESPN researcher Zach Jones was used in this report.

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