There was no real risk when the Dodgers signed Edinson Volquez to a contract last week, essentially giving him a chance to audition and giving themselves a pitcher who would allow their starters to rest during the season’s final month.
It was a low-risk signing at a time when the Dodgers, who began the night with a 13½-game lead in the National League West, could afford one.
OK, so it didn’t work.
Nothing to worry about. Volquez was something of an experiment, and he pretty much failed, giving up six hits and three earned runs in four innings of the Dodgers’ 7-5 loss to the Colorado Rockies on Wednesday night.
At the very least, Volquez provided a break for the team’s starters. Hyun-Jin Ryu has some mid-back stiffness and will miss a start, so it’s even possible Volquez could get one more start next week if Ryu isn’t ready.
Giving starters an additional day between starts can be a good thing, partly for the rest and partly so that manager Don Mattingly can line up his rotation for the beginning of the playoffs in October.
After Volquez was released by the San Diego Padres, the Dodgers watched video of him and figured it was worth it to take a flier, just as they have with reliever Carlos Marmol and third baseman Michael Young. Pitching coach Rick Honeycutt saw some flaws in Volquez’s delivery that he felt were correctable, and it’s possible he may have made some strides Wednesday.
Make no mistake, Coors Field in Denver is Volquez’s Kryptonite. In three previous starts there for the Padres, he gave up 29 hits and 21 runs in 12 2/3 innings. You can bet it’s not his favorite ballpark.
He didn’t get off to a good start in his debut as a Dodgers starter. After striking out Dexter Fowler in the first inning, Volquez surrendered a triple to Josh Rutledge and a double off the left-field wall to Troy Tulowitzki. In the second, he threw a fastball down the middle of the zone that Todd Helton hit for a home run.
To his credit, the right-hander, who will be a free agent after this season, retired the last six batters he faced, but he left with a three-run deficit and lasted only four innings. A Dodgers comeback fell short.
Will Volquez get the ball again? It’s possible.
But that’s only because the Dodgers have a big lead in the NL West. Volquez might be on their roster now, but he isn’t in their postseason plans.