Have you heard? The 33-15 Dodgers have problems! Bill Shaikin and Dylan Hernandez:
- Although the Dodgers have the second-best earned-run average in the major leagues, General Manager Ned Colletti said the pitching staff needs significant improvement.
"We can't go to the bullpen every day as early and as often as we do," Colletti said.
Chad Billingsley has worked at least six innings in all 10 of his starts and Randy Wolf has done so in eight of his 10 starts. The other starters -- Clayton Kershaw, Eric Stults, James McDonald, Jeff Weaver, Eric Milton and Hiroki Kuroda -- have combined for 28 starts and have failed to last six innings in 23 of them.
The Dodgers have the largest lead in any division in baseball, but Colletti said that does not necessarily buy more time for the pitchers on the staff.
"If we could make a move, we'd do it, no matter the lead, no matter the deficit," Colletti said. "The goal is to improve the club."
Colletti said he had talked this season with the San Diego Padres about Jake Peavy, the ace they agreed to trade to the Chicago White Sox last week. Peavy vetoed the deal, and Colletti said he had not spoken with the Padres since then.
Kershaw's plenty good enough. He needs to cut down the walks, but he strikes out enough guys that you can live with the walks and the early exits. Stults, though, is living on the edge. And Milton, the Dodgers' latest No. 5 starter, hasn't been good since 2001. Doesn't mean he can't be good again; say, in 2009. But eight-year gaps in goodness are fairly uncommon.
The Dodgers could cruise to 90 wins and the division title without making a single move the rest of the season. They're that good and the rest of the division is that bad. But right now they've got one ace (Billingsley), two guys who are pretty good (Kershaw and Wolf) and a bunch of guys you wouldn't want within six miles of a postseason start. Not the way they're pitching lately, anyway. (I still have high hopes for McDonald, and Kuroda was solid last year.)
So I appreciate the sentiment, and it's really a shame that the Dodgers have (?) to carry eight relievers and leave their poor manager with a four-man bench. But I can think of about 25 general managers who wish they had Ned Colletti's problems.