The Dodgers finally return home to play a five game home stand against Tampa Bay, and Arizona. They’ll play a short two game interleague series on Tuesday night and Wednesday afternoon before a scheduled off day on Thursday and then a weekend set against the Dbacks. The Dodgers are of course exhausted, beset by injuries but in good spirits. The Cardinals gave them the gift of starting rookie Mike Mayers on Sunday night baseball and the Dodger bats clobbered him into another realm of existence.
The Dodger offense led by Adrian Gonzalez and his grand slam home run, scored 9 runs on 13 hits including 6 runs in the first inning and hung on for a 9-6 win. That coupled with the Giant’s delicious second half slump puts the boys in blue 2.5 games behind the hated ones. The Giants losing streak is certainly a joyous turn of events and something we’ve all been waiting for since May. The thought of the Giants possibly losing each day makes me giddier than a school girl on prom night. Every Giant’s loss fills you and me with joy and warmth.
Dodgers Lineup vs. Tampa Bay
Game Time – 7:10 PM – TV-SNLA
So now that the Dodgers are back at Dodger Stadium they can really get down to the business at hand of catching the Giants and taking over first place in the NL West. They’ll have to defeat Friedman’s former club the Rays and it shouldn’t be too hard of a feat. Although they played poorly in their two games set at Tampa Bay earlier this season. The Rays are one of the worst clubs in the American League. Check that they are almost the worst club with a 38-60 record and a last place standing in the American League East. The Rays are 19-30 on the road while the Dodgers are 30-18 at Chavez Ravine. The Rays are 19.5 games behind the first place Orioles.
Tonight the Dodgers will face possible future Dodger Chris Archer. The Dodgers will give the ball to Bud Norris who had to pitch over an inning in that 16-inning marathon that they blew. There are still rumors that the Dodgers could acquire Archer so it would be interesting to see him pitch tonight. Will he suck possibly knowing he could become a Dodger only days later? Or will he not suck and show the Dodgers what they can have if they acquire him? It’s weird and yet enticing.
The thing is Archer is not having a great season. He’s still striking out guys on a league leading pace (145) but has posted a 5-13 record and a 4.60 ERA. The 27-year old right hander has walked 51 and posted a 3.7 BB/9 rate. His walk rate has increased by one walk per inning since 2015. He’s allowed 20 home runs and 8.8 hits per nine innings in 123 innings pitched. Too many home runs and walks this year. However he did finish third in the American League Cy Young race last year and struck out 252 in 212 frames. Archer has never faced the Dodgers and he has a 6.37 ERA on the road.
The Dodgers will give the ball to Bud Norris. It will be interesting to see how he responds after pitching 1.1 innings of relief in that 16-inning loss against the Cardinals. You know Norris had gotten off to such a great start and lately he’s kind of sucked. He’s lost two consecutive starts and allowed six earned runs on seven hits across five innings against Washington. Overall he is 2-2 and now his ERA is 5.64 with the Dodgers. He’s struck out 26 and walked 5 but also has allowed over 10 hits per nine innings. Norris has made 6 career starts against the Rays and posted a 1-2 record with a 4.62 ERA. Tampa Bay is batting .304 (14 for 46) with 4 home runs against Norris.
Norris vs. Rays
The trade rumors are going to intensify as the week goes on while we inch closer and closer to the August 1 non-waiver trade deadline. I think Friedman is going to get somebody, but will it be guys who don’t suck? Will it be mediocre or injury riddled players? Will he trade for reclamation projects? Or will he actually acquire real impact players? We’ll know soon enough. It’s going to get hot up in here so keep your eyes peeled.
In the meantime the Dodgers have to keep gaining ground on the Giants. This division is within their grasp and there is plenty of time for them to take it.