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What Should the Dodgers Do?

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The Dodgers have the best record in baseball at 55-31. In fact they have had the best record in the majors since May 4, three days before Manny Ramirez was suspended for 50 games. In fact this is the best record for the Dodgers to this part of the season since 1977 when they won 98 games and made it to the World Series against the New York Yankees. Baseball Prospectus as of today is predicting the Dodgers to win 100 or 101 games based on their three different models.

But as sports fans no one is content. There’s always something to tweak. I’ve already mentioned how
the Dodgers need to address the bullpen with Ronald Belisario and Ramon Troncoso combining to pitch over 100 innings a little over the half-way point in the season. Every time I see the two of them pitch in the game I am fearful of seeing their arms just fall off right there on the mound.

Part of the reason the bullpen is being overused is the starters aren’t going deep into games. Chad Billingsley and Randy Wolf are the only starters averaging more than six innings per start. Clayton Kershaw has great stuff but walks a lot of batters averaging just under 5 2/3 innings per start. Hiroki Kuroda still has some rust to shake off after being on the disabled list for most of April and May.

But there’s no one out there.

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Before the season started I mentioned how the trade market was going to be robust because of the economy and that we would see huge deals made in June. Little did I know that only seven teams in baseball are trailing their division by more than 10 games at the end of June. That means 23 teams still have hopes of winning their division or the wild card. Aside from little moves here and there we have seen nothing.

Cliff Lee of the Cleveland Indians doesn’t appear to be going anywhere even though the Indians are one of the seven teams out of contention. The Toronto Blue Jays are dangling starter Roy Halliday, but the Dodgers would probably have to give up too much to get him. Besides Halliday will be a free agent at the end of the season and would most likely to be a two-month rental.

Knowing Ned Colletti’s history we can almost be assured to see a reliever or two to pop up in the bullpen by the trading deadline on July 31. But aside from that the Colletti should do nothing. Although Kershaw has been shaky, we’ve seen him mature before our eyes in his last several starts. Also we are seeing Matt Kemp and James Loney becoming consistent in both their hitting and defense.

If the Dodgers can hold on until September when rosters expand to 40, they should be in pretty good shape to make a very deep run in the postseason.