While the Dodgers were completing a three-game sweep of the hated Giants at AT&T Park in San Francisco with reigning National League Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw tossing a complete game 4-0 5-hit shut-out on Sunday afternoon, there was another shut-out being thrown 418 miles to the south; one which, like Kershaw’s, could lead the Dodgers into the 2012 World Series.
Thirty-six-year-old Dodger left-hander Ted Lilly and 23-year-old Dodger right-hander Rubby De La Rosa each made their first of what is expected to be a month of rehab appearances with the Dodgers High-A affiliate Rancho Cucamonga Quakes, with Lilly and De La Rose tossing two and three shut-out innings respectively in what ended up being an 8-1 rout of the Lake Elsinore Storm (Padres).
Using opposite ends of the radar gun, Lilly (recovering from left shoulder inflammation) threw fast balls that barely reached 85 MPH and curveballs that floated in at 68 MPH, while De La Rosa (recovering from Tommy John surgery on his right elbow) threw pure heat with fastballs that frequently hit 96 MPH (97 on his last pitch of the afternoon) and filthy sliders that broke sharply at 86 MPH; yet both enjoyed the same results – 5 innings of shut-out baseball. Lilly gave up one hit while striking out one and walking one, while De La Rosa allowed 2 hits, struck out 3, and issued one walk.
“My arm feels great,” De La Rosa said prior to the game. “I can’t wait to get back with my team.”
Although the Dodgers are still actively pursuing another starting pitcher prior to Tuesday’s trade deadline, it is (very) reassuring to know that they already have two starters in the bank who will most likely be available within the next three to four weeks.