Sunday was humid in Los Angeles and that can make for a long day. By the fourth inning it seemed the day might get longer with the boys in blue down 3-0 to their division rivals, the Arizona Diamondbacks, after a pitch in the dirt got stuck in Dodgers catcher, Yamani Grandal’s chest protector. Bud Norris had started the game on the mound, but left after facing only two batters and throwing 13 pitches after suffering a minor back injury.
Somebody’s family is going to pick up and move…
Things were looking bad. The pitching staff was depleted and so was the depth of the roster’s outfielders due to injury. And the trade deadline was fast aproaching.
Was this a sign of things to come for the team with the largest payroll ($259 million) in Major League Baseball? The Dodgers have more than doubled their payroll in less than six years and have no World Series appearances to show for it despite winning the past three NL West pennants.
“Somebody’s family is going to pick up and move. We don’t know who it is. We don’t know if we’re adding pieces, or getting rid of pieces or how it’s going to go down.”Norris told reporters.
It’s unknown if Norris will make his next start, but if he can at the beginning of the day Monday the Dodgers starting five were Norris, Kenta Maeda, Brandon McCarthy, Scott Kazmir and a guy named “to be determined”.
A day later and things are looking up. As far as the Diamondbacks game goes, the Dodgers scored 14 unanswered runs led by homers from Grandal (15th of the season), Corey Seager (18th of the season) and Joc Pederson (16th of the season and it was his third straight game with a homer).
Plus, with the trade deadline behind us, now, the Dodgers addressed their two biggest problems. Those problems were depth in the pitching line-up and offensive production from the outfield.
General manager, Andrew Friedman filled those needs by trading prospects Frankie Montas, Grant Holmes and Jharrel Cotton to the Oakland A’s for pitcher Rich Hill and outfielder Josh Reddick. Holmes and Montas were ranked as the #4 and #5 prospects in the Dodgers farm system, but Montas hasn’t played this season due to a rib injury and Holmes had a 4.02 ERA in class-A, while Cotton had a 4.90 ERA in triple-A Oklahoma City.
In return the Dodgers get Hill, who was leading the American League in ERA and homers per 9 innings pitched and is near the top of the rankings for opponents average, WHIP and strikeouts per 9 innings.
We’re offensive. You look at us on paper, and when we weren’t going well in April, those guys kept confident…
On top of that, Reddick is capable of filling any production holes the Dodgers outfield have. He is batting .296 with 8 homers and 28 RBIs.Add that to the fact that Grandal had a great July (batting .324 with 8 homers), that third baseman Justin Turner is batting .339 since the All Star break, that the team is 18-10 since their ace, Clayton Kershaw, last pitched, and that the team has scored 5+ runs in 12 games last month as well as trimming 2 1/2 games off the San Francisco Giants’ lead in the National League West and things are looking up.The Dodgers coach, Dave Roberts, told reporters yesterday,
“We’re offensive. You look at us on paper, and when we weren’t going well in April, those guys kept confident. The baseball cards are starting to line up with the numbers currently.
On the offensive side, it continues to get better. Since Clayton went down, I do know we made a concerted effort to do a little bit more. And that’s 25 guys in the clubhouse. The results have been great, but the mind-set, for me, was the most important thing.”
The results have been great and with Hill and Reddick filling the gaps, they will only get better.