I'm not sure where it ranks among the most interesting numbers this month -- hey, I just got an idea for a column later this week -- but there is something thrilling about this:
Nine pitchers have started baseball games for the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2013.
Last year the Dodgers used nine starting pitchers during the entire season.
Just to clarify in case you don't pay attention to things like calendars, at this writing 2013 doesn't include even a full month yet. Remember, just two or three months ago the Dodgers supposedly had a small problem: TOO MANY STARTING PITCHERS. They had eight guys with legitimate big-league credentials, without even counting any young pitchers with plenty left to prove.
But then guys started getting hurt, and one of them got traded, and now the club's 10 deep into the depth chart and there's no telling who might go down next.
In order, here are the Dodgers' Terrific 10, in order of their first start of the season:
1. Clayton Kershaw (okay)
2. Hyun-jin Ryu (okay)
3. Josh Beckett (okay)
4. Zack Greinke ( )
5. Chad Billingsley (Tommy John Surgery)
6. Chris Capuano (~Carlos Quentin)
7. Stephen Fife (shoulder bursitis)
8. Ted Lilly (just off D.L.)
9. Matt Magill (debuted Saturday)
That's nine. No. 10 is (or was) Aaron Harang, who got traded to the Mariners before the Dodgers realized they might really need him. Fife replaced Billingsley in the rotation, lasted one start, and has been replaced by Magill. The good news is that Capuano's expected to rejoin the big club within a couple of weeks. Greinke should return to the rotation in June. So the Dodgers should still have a fine rotation, eventually, even without Billingsley.
But that won't matter if they fall too far behind, and it also sort of assumes that nobody else gets hurt.
It's hard to imagine their luck not turning for the better. Then again, Baseball can be a cruel and unlucky mistress.