I recently chatted with Eric Stephen of True Blue LA about this weekend’s series with the Dodgers. Here’s some of what he had to say:
SH: Thus far in 2014, the Dodgers are 24-16 on the road but only 18-20 at home, where they will play the Cardinals this weekend. What do you attribute to LA’s struggles at home this season?
ES: It has been quite puzzling why the Dodgers started off so poorly at home this year. I’m not sure I would classify any part of their first half as bad, but maybe just playing under some sort of a malaise in general. They didn’t have a homestand of even .500 until their last one, when the team won five out of six games. The Dodgers have been playing much better in general the last few weeks, and I suspect that will continue at Dodger Stadium.
SH: Both the Cardinals and Dodgers have been mentioned as potential suitors for the Tampa Bay Rays’ David Price. Do you think Ned Colletti will seriously go after Price, and who would you be willing to give up in order to acquire him?
ES: Dodgers starting pitching has been a great strength, so I have a hard time seeing them go after Price. We saw the Dodgers have some sort of financial restraint or possible limit with not outbidding everyone on Masahiro Tanaka (though, looking back, perhaps they should have). Price would be a great fit with the Dodgers and with a year and a half before free agency isn’t a strict rental, but because of that restraint I am hesitant to believe the Dodgers will pursue him. I think Tampa Bay shouldn’t settle for less than two of the Dodgers’ top three prospects – shortstop Corey Seager, outfielder Joc Pederson and 17-year old LHP Julio Urias. I would be ecstatic with just about any Price deal that only included one of those prospects.
SH: If the season were to end today, the Cardinals and Dodgers would be the two wild card teams in a one-game playoff. What is the biggest key for the Dodgers in the second half of the season for them to be able to catch the Giants and take over the NL West?
ES: The Dodgers need to get more consistent performance out of their bullpen, which has been better of late as the starters have gone deeper into games giving the pen a bit of a rest. In addition, they need a healthy Hanley Ramirez and to get production out of more than one outfielder at a time. Matt Kemp has done very well in June and if he can stay healthy the offense will be that much better.
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