Watching Jason Schmidt Sunday was painful for Dodger fans, the man just no longer has it, giving up five runs in the first three innings. And it emphasized the point the Dodgers need to go out and get another starting pitcher at the trade deadline.
But they do not need to mortgage the future on Roy Halladay.
No doubt Halladay is an ace, the former Cy Young winner is 11-3 with a 2.62 ERA playing for a mediocre team north of the border in Toronto. With some run support, his record could be better.
But just like poker, once ace only gets you so far, and not as far as you’d think against other top teams with good hands. Simply put any student of history, like over at Dodger Thoughts, can tell you that making a big deadline trade for a pitcher rarely pans out the way you think.
Remember the last time the Dodgers made a mid-season trade to get an ace, giving up Paul Lo Duca and more to get Brad Penny? Penny in that postseason…. didn’t pitch, he was out injured, the Dodgers had to go without some good bats into the post season and got bounced by St. Louis before Dodger fans got into their seats.
But that’s just one time and one team, you say? Nope, it’s the trend. Last season everybody wanted CC Sabathia as the ace for the playoffs, and he went to Milwaukee. Then in the first round of the playoffs, he gave up five runs in the second inning to the Phillies. His post-season ERA is nearly 8. So that really helped.
And Penny and Sabathia are the tip of the iceberg: ESPN’s Jayson Stark dug up the numbers.
• Over the past 32 years, exactly three pitchers who changed teams in midseason have won a World Series game: Joe Blanton for the 2008 Phillies, Jeff Weaver for the 2006 Cardinals and Mike Torrez for the 1977 Yankees. ... And over the past 13 years, only two pitchers who got traded on deadline day (July 31) went on to win any kind of postseason game. One was Oliver Perez (who was actually only a throw-in at the time) for the 2006 Mets. The other was David Weathers, who was just a set-up bullpen arm for the 1996 Yankees.
What Toronto is asking — a front line young pitcher in Chad Billingsley plus a couple of other players off the major league roster, or maybe they can be talked into a couple of top prospects to go along with him — is too high a price. With Billingsley and Kershaw, the Dodgers have young pitchers on their way up and could form that core of a staff that will see a lot of playoff games.
Did Billingsley struggle against the Phillies? Sure. He also out-pitched Carlos Zambrano in the playoffs when the Dodgers faced the Cubs. Billingsley is young and getting better — bottom line, you don’t trade young good for old, very expensive good.
The Dodgers do need to find some pitching depth. The fifth starter spot is in question and the Dodgers do need a little more help for the bullpen, to get games to Jonathon Broxton.
Here's the big thing to remember — the Dodgers have the best team ERA in baseball. The pitching staff isn’t broken, so why fix it?