- Tony Jackson, ESPNLosAngeles.com
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LOS ANGELES -- After Saturday night, when knuckleballer Charlie Haeger became the first Los Angeles Dodgers starter in 22 years to fail to record an out, manager Joe Torre talked Sunday about his team's starting pitching.
"My expectations haven't changed, but you have to be realistic about it,'' Torre said before Sunday's 2-0 win against the Colorado Rockies. "For us to win games and win without a consistent pitching staff is lucky.''
The Dodgers' rotation, which consists of three starters and others being plugged into the two remaining spots on a case-by-case basis, entered Sunday with an 8-11 record and a 5.20 ERA. The seven pitchers who had started games for the club had allowed 167 hits in 159 1/3 innings and had walked 79 batters. One of those starters, Vicente Padilla, is on the 15-day disabled list and not expected back until sometime in June; he had a 6.65 ERA in the four starts he made when he was healthy.
Adding to possible injury woes, Torre also said Sunday that Haeger has a problem in his right heel.
Torre was asked whether the Dodgers could turn the season around with the starting pitching they had.
"For me, [Chad] Billingsley is certainly capable,'' Torre said. "I think we all have seen enough from him to know that he has the makings of a special pitcher. [Hiroki] Kuroda struggled [Friday] night, but he still gets you there. Padilla, we got a small sample size with him last year, but he showed us enough that he was our Opening Day starter because he can dominate a game. I thought the best stuff he has had came in the last game he pitched for us [on April 22 at Cincinnati] before he got hurt. And [Clayton] Kershaw, again, I continue to say it would be unfair to lean on him. But at some point, he will be very, very special.''
Torre also said it is easier to win with a team that has strong starting pitching but struggles offensively than with a high-powered offensive team that lacks quality pitching.
"Definitely, because you can try to create something,'' Torre said. "You can try to play for one run. If you get pitching and defense, sometimes one run is enough. But when you don't have a lot of pitching, you don't know how many runs you're going to need.''
Torre didn't want to address the issue of where additional pitching help might come from.
"I can't concern myself with moves down the road,'' he said. "That doesn't help me today or tomorrow. We need to stay competitive and not lose our composure.''
Tony Jackson covers the Dodgers for ESPNLosAngeles.com.
1dKevin Van Valkenburg