In July, the Dodgers’ pitching staff has been among the best in the National League in terms of ERA, fielding-independnt pitching (FIP) and batting average against, and they’re getting more run support.
Throw in their MLB-best 18-5 record this month, and the Dodgers look like baseball’s least likely team to acquire a major-league player at the trade deadline. There aren’t any bombshells on the horizon this year, unlike a year ago, when Dodger Stadium was hailing firebombs full of big-name acquisitions.
There is usually room for at least a minor upgrade, of course, and general manager Ned Colletti has mentioned the bullpen as a possible area for improvement. While Carlos Marmol has underwhelmed since becoming a Dodger, number-five starter Stephen Fife can return from his rehab assignment this weekend (his turn comes around Saturday), meaning incumbent number-five starter Chris Capuano could go to the bullpen as a long reliever. That could be the upgrade Colletti aims for.
The Atlanta Braves took one veteran reliever off the market Monday morning, acquiring Scott Downs from the Angels. Other contenders are in the market for relievers too, teams that are probably more hungry for relief pitching than the Dodgers.
For now, at least. Like last year, the horizon is farther away than it looks. The Adrian Gonzalez/Carl Crawford/Josh Beckett/Nick Punto trade didn’t go down until August 25 of last year. Joe Blanton became a Dodger on August 3.
Inevitably, some deals are being discussed right now that will fizzle, some will go down before 1 p.m. Wednesday, and others won’t be consummated until August. So we won’t really know what team the Dodgers are taking into September until September, though it will probably look a lot like this one.
Some bullet points for a Global Tiger Day:
• This was the only bombshell to be found at Dodger Stadium on Sunday:
• One of the Dodgers’ division rivals is going into sell mode.
• Bill Russell is auctioning a lifetime’s worth of Dodgers memorabilia, including: a 1977 Los Angeles Dodgers National League Championship Ring, 1978 Los Angeles Dodgers National League Championship Ring, 1981 Los Angeles Dodgers Personal World Series Trophy, 1988 Los Angeles Dodgers Personal World Series Trophy, 1988 Los Angeles Dodgers World Series Clubhouse Line Up Cards vs. Oakland A’s.
• RIP J.J. Cale, who died of a heart attack Friday. The songwriter behind a number of rock hits in the 1960s and 1970s for Eric Clapton, Lynyrd Skynyrd, and others. He wrote “After Midnight” before Clapton popularized it. This live performance of the song from 1971 is so raw, so Southern Rock — musicologists will correct me and call it the “Tulsa Sound” — you’re legally obligated to drink a Budweiser while listening to it: