Due to injuries and Zack Greinke needing to skip his scheduled start so he was able to present for the birth of his first child, the Los Angeles Dodgers relied on two unexpected starters for the middle games of their four-game series against the New York Mets.
Ian Thomas filled in admirably Friday night, on the heels of Clayton Kershaw’s complete-game shutout in Thursday’s series opener. While Thomas didn’t match the reigning National League MVP’s performance, whom he resembles, his five innings of one-run ball was sufficient.
Unfortunately for the Dodgers, Zach Lee’s long anticipated MLB debut didn’t fall anywhere near Kershaw’s or Thomas’ outings. The Mets scored four runs in the first inning and never looked back in their 15-2 win. Lee acknowledged a sense of accomplishment with reaching the Majors but also was disappointed with his results, according to Bill Plunkett of the OC Register:
Just not good enough,” Lee said. “Bittersweet, probably, is the best word to describe it. It’s great to get up here. It’s great to actually be throwing in a game and get kind of that first outing out of the way. Unfortunately, it wasn’t a very good outing to hang your hat on. Hopefully, I’ll get up here (again) as quick as possible or if they keep me here hopefully I’ll know where I can improve and show them what I can actually do.”
While the final line on Lee didn’t read as one with many positives, Dodgers manager Don Mattingly thought his young right-hander pitched better than the statistics suggest:
Honestly, I don’t know if Zach was that bad,” Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. “If he lets that ball go up the middle, we get a two-ball there (a double play) and we get out of that inning with one (run). I didn’t think he was that bad. I thought he was getting better as it went along. Not as bad as it looked.”
The nerves Lee had were exacerbated as the first four batters faced all reached safely. Curtis Granderson drew a leadoff walk and it was followed by a trio of singles that gave the Mets a 1-0 lead. Then with one out, Lee interfered with a chopper that may have been a double play, but instead allowed a run to score and the bases remain loaded.
What’s ahead for Lee is largely unknown given the current state of Dodgers’ rotation and their desire to acquire a starting pitcher ahead of Friday’s non-waiver trade deadline. Assuming Brett Anderson is healthy and is able to overcome the minor Achilles injury he suffered, that gives the Dodgers three certainties — with Kershaw and Greinke.
Mike Bolsinger is slated to start in the weekend home series against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, and Carlos Frias begins his rehab assignment Sunday. While it may appear Lee is in line for another start with the Dodgers, circumstances can change and a quick return to Oklahoma City isn’t out of the question.