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NL West: The Injury Bug
Injuries rocked three of the four National League West playoff contenders over the past week -- but the one club to make it through unscathed could only take partial advantage.
Filling in for Hudson will be Alberto Callaspo, who has had an up-and-down year to say the least: everything from being suspended and then reinstated to the team following a domestic violence arrest to falling for the hidden-ball trick.
The 24-year-old Callaspo has had on-base percentages of .404 and .406 his past two seasons in the minors, but was just at .257 with Arizona in 2007. Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic wrote that Arizona manager Bob Melvin "is hopeful that regular at-bats will allow Callaspo to get into a groove offensively."
Colorado manager Clint Hurdle told C.J. Moore of MLB.com that Matsui would miss a "few" games and Taveras "more than a few" -- in fact, Taveras may well be done for the season.
"There's not going to be an Eeyore mentality here; it's not going to be, 'Woe is us.' We need to play," Hurdle said to Moore. "We need not to dwell on what we don't have and figure out what we do have and figure out how we're going to win ballgames with what we do have."
Sure enough, the Rockies came back Sunday and beat the Padres, moving within three games of the NL wild-card lead. Ryan Spilborghs (.836 OPS) started in place of Taveras on Sunday, and Jamey Carroll (.602) took Matsui's spot. Cory Sullivan (.724), Omar Quintanilla (.630) and Clint Barmes (.555) could also see increased playing time, Moore wrote.
"There are three things to consider when it comes to Milton Bradley's strain of the oblique muscle in his right rib cage," Bill Center of the San Diego Union-Tribune cautioned. "The Padres have classified the injury as "mild." Historically, Bradley is not a quick healer. (And) Players rarely come back sooner than expected from oblique strains, even when the injury isn't severe."
Dan Hayes of the North County Times reported that Scott Hairston, Rob Mackowiak, Terrmel Sledge and Brady Clark might all step in to fill in for Bradley for an indefinite period.
When Andre Ethier hit a pinch-hit, three-run, ninth-inning home run to give the Dodgers their third victory in four games at NL Central-leading Chicago, it looked like the team was racing back into contention, having won 14 of their past 21. But this weekend in San Francisco, at a ballpark where Los Angeles had won 11 consecutive games over its fabled rivals, the Giants threw up a couple of roadblocks by hitting game-winning home runs off Dodger reliever Jonathan Broxton in their final at-bats Friday (by Dan Ortmeier) and Sunday (by Ray Durham).
Broxton, who also served up a homer in the Ethier game Thursday, had allowed only one homer all season prior to that. As a result (at least in part) of his sudden struggles, instead of trailing the Padres by half a game entering their three-game series in Los Angeles that starts Tuesday (with Jake Peavy pitching the first game for the Padres against Esteban Loaiza), the Dodgers trail by 2 1/2.
Labels: NL West
posted by SI.com | View comments |
I can't say that Willy Taveras's absence is going to hurt Colorado all that much.
Losing Aaron Cook is a bigger deal.
It's hard to imagine the phrase "Clint Hurdle managed playoff contender" making sense in mid-September.
For the Dodgers, the Friday night game, the first after winning 3 of 4 in Chicago, was the killer. Sunday, debate regarding Penny's removal (82 pitches) notwithstanding, was one of those things that happens. Friday, with the botched DP leading to questionable managing decsions, leading to the go-ahead run, it much harder to take; Broxton and the Dodgers shouldn't have been in the tied, bottom of the ninth situation in the first place.
AL East blog (Monday)
NL West blog (Monday)
AL Central blog (Tuesday)
NL Central blog (Wednesday)
AL West blog (Thursday)
NL East blog (Thursday)
Wild Card (Friday)