With the Dodgers on a winning streak and most of their key players healthy, General Manager Ned Colletti sounded upbeat when addressing the state of his team.
“It’s good to see us get guys back,” Colletti said in an interview Friday. “We went through a long stretch where we were really banged up in a lot of key areas.”
Left fielder Carl Crawford remains sidelined with a strained hamstring, but is expected back before the All-Star break. Even with Crawford out, the Dodgers figure to be able to field an All-Star-caliber outfield, as Yasiel Puig, Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier will be stating most games.
The outfield trio, plus shortstop Hanley Ramirez and first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, give the Dodgers a frightening middle of the order.
Colletti thinks the five big hitters take pressure off of one another.
“That was the idea,” Colletti said. “The idea was to make it very difficult for a pitcher to get through our lineup a couple of times. Work counts, hunt something you can handle, do some damage to it. When you look at our lineup, you should see it should be difficult to get through it. There shouldn’t be any softness through it that you can skate through.”
With some players starting slowly -- namely, Kemp and Ethier -- did Colletti ever doubt the offense would come together the way it has in the last week?
“Their history tells us that they’re very accomplished hitters,” Colletti said. “It’s not like their careers are at the sunsets. We’re talking about players that are 28 to 31, 32, for the most part.”
Colletti believes an improved offense will benefit the embattled bullpen, which leads the major leagues with 17 losses.
“Our offense has struggled for a while,” he said. “That puts pressure on the pitching, whether it’s the starter or the bullpen. If our offense can start to generate more runs, I think it makes a lot of things better. If our defense is crisp, it makes a lot of things better.”Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times