The Dodgers are heading into Chicago to face the White Sox for a two game set while riding a nine game winning streak, and Clayton Kershaw will make his first start of the second half. Will the Dodgers ever lose again? It’s quite the popular rhetorical question on social media these days. The answer, of course, is yes. Teams do not win every game that they play. But the way this team is clicking, all things just seem to keep falling into place.
In their last 33 games, the Boys in Blue are 29-4. During this same span, they have outscored their opponents 193-102. So far in July, they have out-homered their opponents 18-7. During the three game series in Miami, they hit six homers while allowing zero. They have eleven sweeps so far this season, most recently this weekend in Miami — without Kerhsaw pitching. In a month they have gone from .5 games behind to 10.5 games ahead.
In a huge upgrade from last season, the Dodgers have won their last 10 games against left-handed starters. For the season, they are 20-9 against southpaws, which is the best record in the major leagues.
One could go on and on about all the amazing stats that the Dodgers have amassed so far this season, but all of that really doesn’t matter unless they don’t actually win the World Series. I was watching Pedro Gomez this morning on SportsCenter, and he said that he has been travelling with the team for a bit. Every player said that this is the best team LA has had in this 4+ year run of division titles. But as the Cubs did last season, it is worth it to make a great club even greater to finally get over that hump.
Over the weekend, one of the players we had previously discussed was traded. The Washington Nationals aquired reliever Sean Doolittle, along with Ryan Madson from the Oakland A’s. Doolittle had been on the Dodgers radar as a possible bullpen upgrade. Other relievers mentioned often as trade candidates are Zach Britton of the Orioles, and a Brad Hand of the San Diego Padres. Both would bring a steep asking price.
As far as starting pitching goes, Sonny Gray still remains available, and the A’s have shown they are willing to deal. A quick perusal of Twitter shows me that basically all contenders are in on him at this moment, with maybe the exclusion of the Nationals. Even the Atlanta Braves are mentioned, who are sitting just a half-game distance from the Chicago Cubs, and six games out of the wild card. The same with both J.D. Martinez, and Justin Wilson of the Detroit Tigers. Wilson in particular is being discussed currently as a heavy favorite of the Tampa Bay Rays, who are first in the AL Wild Card race.
Today, Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports reported that the Dodgers are willing to trade both Brandon Morrow and Sergio Romo. While Romo has not been as good as one could have hoped, Morrow definitely has. In 15-2/3 innings of work, Morrow has 20 strikeouts, and has only allowed two walks and no home runs. He has a team friendly contract, too, only being owed balance of his $1.25M deal. Since Morrow has been one of the most consistent relievers in the Dodgers bullpen, I would be up for moving him for Britton. At this point, I don’t know what other return would make sense. I doubt Romo would make the postseason roster anyway, so he would be very expendable.
The prudent thing could be to wait until the very end of the trade deadline. Although the Dodgers definitely could use upgrades, they are sitting pretty where they are. Let other teams overpay for panicked decisions, and see what’s there at the end, when teams may be more willing to make a more Dodgers-friendly move. This is not to say that the Dodgers should do nothing — they have the resources and the record to wait it out, and make the right move for the team both now and in the future. Teams that are on the edge of buying may also turn into sellers, and names not available now could possibly be in the next week or two.
With the creativity this front office has shown in the past, I have no doubt that in some way they will find a way to bolster the pitching staff, and perhaps the offense. In the meantime, this team can just keep plugging along, maybe lose a game here or there, and put this division in the bag.
(Follow Andy on Twitter: @DodgersAndyInPA)