The Dodgers are in quite the predicament. They are currently without two starters. Their bullpen has lost key arms to injuries and, as such, is being overtaxed. And, of course, the offense is inconsistent. With that being said, it’s a miracle that they are still 54-35 and second in the division.
Desperate times call for desperate measures, and these are definitely desperate times. Normally games wouldn’t be put in the hands of Triple-A players with little MLB experience, but what can you do when the world is falling apart? Because of the issues facing the Dodgers, guys like Edwin Uceta have been pushed into situations where they clearly do not belong.
Even Dave Roberts vaguely acknowledged that Uceta would not typically be put in tight situations with the game on the line.
“Certainly the world’s not perfect. It’s kind of a byproduct of where our guys are at, as far as workload and how things have played out.”
Uceta has eaten up innings for the Dodgers, but it’s clear he is not ready to pitch in the big leagues, or at the very least in Los Angeles. While he has struck out 18 in 16.2 innings of work, he’s also allowed 11 walks and 18 runs (3 unearned) on 18 hits. It’s clear that he is just overmatched at the highest level, costing the team multiple leads or increasing the deficit.
Take Friday night’s game as the latest example. Down 3-2 in the top of the ninth, all hopes of a comeback dwindled away. Uceta gave up a hit and walked 3 with two runs eventually crossing home plate. You can say it’s Dave Robert’s fault for calling on him in a high leverage situation, yet who else can he turn to? Roberts can certainly shoulder some of the blame, but not all of the cards he’s been dealt can get the job done.
Los Angeles isn’t a rebuilding team that can allow Uceta to iron out the wrinkles. They’re a contender who needs to still climb out of the hole they’re in to seize first place and a spot in the postseason. Props to Uceta for his service to the team, but he shouldn’t see a big league mound again anytime soon. Not when the Dodgers can get outside help through the trade market or can find other internal ones such as former Padre Kevin Quackenbush who has MLB experience.
The team needs to do something new to patch the holes in their sinking boat because Uceta isn’t cutting it. He has potential, but he’s starting to look like a Dennis Santana type of pitcher, lots of upside but little results. If he can’t find more success on the mound, he could very well face a similar future.