Next time you roll your eyes at the “can't have too much pitching” cliche, the Dodgers would remind you of the truth in every cliche.
Eleven days ago, the Dodgers had three surplus starters. Today, they have none.
Chris Capuano left Tuesday's game because of a strained calf, the lingering memory of an otherwise forgettable 9-2 loss to the San Diego Padres. Capuano, who suffered the injury while running to cover first base, said he would have an MRI exam Thursday.
BOX SCORE: San Diego 9, Dodgers 2
The Dodgers lost their third consecutive game, this one by managing four hits against Jason Marquis and Andrew Cashner. The Dodgers have played 14 games this season and scored more than four runs twice.
Matt Kemp heard boos from a half-full Dodger Stadium. He was hitless in four at-bats, striking out twice, and his batting average fell to .185 overall and .053 (one for 19) with runners in scoring position.
“Matt's pressing pretty good,” Manager Don Mattingly said.
Mattingly said he had not decided whether to give Kemp a day off.
“There's a thought of it,” Mattingly said
The Dodgers lost Capuano to injury five days after losing Zack Greinke to injury, and 11 days after trading Aaron Harang.
That would appear to create an opening in the rotation for Ted Lilly, who reluctantly agreed to make a third minor league rehabilitation start Tuesday.
If Capuano cannot make his next start, Lilly could step in. That would avoid a confrontation between the team and the pitcher over whether the Dodgers are stalling his activation. However, with two days off coming up, the Dodgers might not need a fifth starter until April 27.
Then again, Lilly's performance Tuesday offered little in the way of statistical reassurance. Lilly needed 81 pitches to get through five innings for Class-A Rancho Cucamonga, giving up four runs — three earned — and seven hits. In three minor league starts, Lilly has an earned-run average of 6.88
The Dodgers broke camp with eight starters, with Capuano and Harang in the bullpen and Lilly on the disabled list as he completed his rehabilitation from shoulder surgery
On April 6, the Dodgers shipped Harang, and most of his salary, to the Colorado Rockies for backup catcher Ramon Hernandez. The Rockies flipped Harang to the Seattle Mariners.
Capuano emerged from the bullpen Tuesday, making his first start in place of Greinke. In the first inning of that first start, Capuano gave up four runs, as many as any Dodgers starter has in any inning this season.
Capuano left in the third inning, forcing the Dodgers to use five relievers for the second consecutive night.
“To have a stupid little injury like this happen, it just pushes you over the edge,” Capuano said.
Mattingly said the Dodgers would discuss whether to call up a pitcher Wednesday to help the bullpen before figuring out what to do with the spot currently occupied by Capuano and possibly available for Lilly.