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S a r a h ' s  D o d g e r  P l a c e

The Dodgers are hanging in there

6-15-01

Though the Dodger situation has looked bleak sometimes this year, the Dodgers have continued playing well and winning baseball games.  Yearly every team loses some players to injury, but the Dodgers have placed ten players on the disabled list.  The Dodgers have worked together as a team to win games. Because some of the media believe the Dodgers are unlikely playoff candidates, they have written the Dodgers should trade away some high-priced talent to get some minor leaguers for the future.

Every team must overcome adversity to win a championship.  This season the Los Angeles Dodgers have shown this ability.  They have blocked out the Gary Sheffield situation during spring training and the forced resignation of their general manager Kevin Malone and continued to win.  While Kevin Brown has been on the disabled list, other pitchers have pitched well.  Not as the media predicted, the Dodgers did not collapse or struggle when Gary Sheffield and Eric Karros were on the disabled list at the same time because Shawn Green and Marquis Grissom performed better than expected.  The Dodgers have shown the ability to come back from large deficits and win the game.  Twice in the recent series with the Texas Rangers the Dodgers overcame three-run deficits to win the games.

Before the season began, most of the media called the Dodger starting rotation formidable.  Though the Dodgers have suffered injuries to two of their starters and poor performances by others, their starting pitching has carried the club often.  Kevin Brown has missed several starts with tendonitis in his Achilles' tendon and a nerve problem in his neck, and the Dodgers recently learned Brown would be out until the All-Star break.  While Brown has been out, Terry Adams, who had not started a major league game before June 5, has done well in his two starts.  

During the off-season the Dodgers signed Andy Ashby to be their fourth starter in 2001, but in April Ashby injured his elbow.  This week the Dodgers learned Ashby will be out for the season with a torn flexor muscle.  Luke Prokopec, who should be in triple-A, has pitched well in Ashby's place, excluding his last three starts.

During spring training Eric Gagne beat out Ramon Martinez, who has retired, for the Dodger fifth spot in their rotation.  Gagne had struggled, so recently the Dodgers demoted him to triple-A.  This has given Giovanni Carrara an opportunity to start.  In his two starts he has pitched well not allowing more than three runs.

Using inexperienced starters has put undue stress on the Dodger bullpen.  Though the Dodger bullpen was one of their strengths in 2000, it has struggled because the bullpen has overworked.  Jeff Shaw has not struggled and is tied for the save lead in the National League, and Matt Herges has done well.  Mike Fetters and Gregg Olson have struggled.  When most Dodger starters have not gone past the sixth inning, the bullpen must pitch at least three innings a game.  If the Dodgers want a chance of making the playoffs and an effective bullpen, the Dodgers need to trade for an experienced pitcher.

Though the Dodgers need to lower their payroll, this is not the time to do so. This year the Dodgers already have lowered their payroll when they traded Devon White and released Carlos Perez.  If the Dodgers can trade an expensive player for something that they need, they should do it.  The Dodgers need another starting pitcher and possibly another power hitter.  Not as a reporter for the Los Angeles Times suggested, the Dodgers should not trade Mark Grudzielanek who has been the Dodger most consistent hitter in 2001.  Only four games behind the division-leading Arizona Diamondbacks, the Dodgers have a genuine opportunity to make the playoffs for the first time since 1996.

© Sarah D. Morris

 

 

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