Padilla The Man For Dodgers, Schmidt Put on DL

The Dodgers newest pitcher gets the ball in their biggest game of the season. What could go wrong?

Today is the biggest game in the Dodgers season — they will leave Colorado with a healthy four game lead or a frighteningly small two game one. It could portend momentum for weeks to come.

And to get that win, they are going to give the ball to Vicente Padilla. Making his first start as a Dodger. Making his first major league pitch since the Texas Rangers — a team in need of pitching depth — basically paid him to walk away.

It could work out — Padilla has good stuff, he’s just inconsistent. And he tends to hit a lot of batters. And he has a massive ego. But if the good Padilla takes the mound, he can get hitters out (and he switches to the easier National League from all the bombers in the American League, which should help his confidence). He’s a guy pitching for a new contract, and that can provide amazing motivation sometimes.

It’s not going to be easy — he is going up against Jorge De La Rosa, the Rockies best pitcher who has won a dozen games since the start of June.

Ironically, to make way for Padilla on the Dodgers roster, the man who was supposed to be their best pitcher, they guy they are still paying like an ace, had to be put on the disabled list — Jason Schmidt.

Schmidt was one of the Dodgers biggest free agent blunders (and with things like the Dreifort signing, that is saying something). Schmidt had been a dominant force in San Francisco when Ned Colletti was up there, so when Colletti became the Dodger general manager he leaned on the man he had trusted in the Bay Area. The Dodgers went big, ignoring some potential warning signs that Schmidt might be slowing down.

Slowing down was an understatement. He stopped. He was injured. To Schmidt’s credit he worked hard at rehab, he wanted to get back, but his body had betrayed him and his fastball couldn’t get a high school team out anymore.

His career is over. Padilla’s future career is on the line over the rest of the season, starting today. And so is the Dodgers season.

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