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Series preview: Mets at Dodgers

8/22/2014

LOS ANGELES -- The Los Angeles Dodgers continue to try to piece together a pitching rotation that, because of injuries, has gone from being their greatest strength to their biggest concern.

This weekend will provide some more answers, with Dan Haren fighting hard to get his form back and nail down his spot and Zack Greinke trying pitch through a sore elbow.

It should help that the team they’re facing, the New York Mets, has lost six of its last nine games, scoring more than two runs in only three of those contests.

Speaking of the Mets’ recent hitting funk, New York general manager Sandy Alderson said in a radio interview this week, “I do believe that offensively we will get better. The question is how much better.”

The Mets have some players with power, including Lucas Duda (23 home runs) and Curtis Granderson (15), but they also have some players who are seriously under-producing from their career norms. David Wright, for example, has only eight home runs and a subpar .699 OPS.

Both teams are getting closer to full strength. The Dodgers expect to activate shortstop Hanley Ramirez before Sunday’s game, and the Mets look to activate two pitchers, Jacob deGrom and Bartolo Colon, for the series.

Some people expect the Mets to trade pitcher Jonathon Niese, possibly this month, and the Dodgers have made no secret of their desire to continue adding pitching. They’ll get an up-close look at Niese on Friday night, when he works the series opener opposing Haren, who had made two excellent starts before Sunday’s clunker against the Milwaukee Brewers.

DeGrom will come off the DL to pitch Saturday. He has been dealing with some rotator cuff tendinitis. Colon, another trade candidate, will be activated from the bereavement list to pitch on Sunday. Colon, who won the 2005 Cy Young award for the Angels, traveled to the Dominican Republic to attend his mother’s funeral. Greinke will go Saturday -- and his Thursday bullpen session gave the Dodgers reason to think he can pitch through the injury -- and Kevin Correia will make his third Dodgers start on Sunday.

The series will be a reunion for Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner, who is looking forward to meeting up with several of his teammates. But it also will be a chance for Turner to do some damage to the team that non-tendered him last fall and leaked innuendos to the media he wasn’t hustling out ground balls.