Hi, and welcome to another edition of Dodgers Dugout. My name is Houston Mitchell, and I'm wondering if Joc Pederson has any tickets to "Hamilton" he'd like to unload now. I need two.
A grand addition
Well, Dodgers fans can no longer complain that Andrew Friedman and Farhan Zaidi don't know how important it is to fans to win the World Series. That's because they made a big move on Friday designed to give the team their best chance to do just that this season.
The Dodgers acquired outfielder Curtis Granderson late Friday for minor-league pitcher Jacob Rhame, who was considered the 28th-best prospect in the Dodgers system.
To add Granderson to the roster, the Dodgers sent Joc Pederson to the minors. So this was basically a trade of Granderson for Pederson.
Granderson is in his 17th season and will be a free agent after the season, so he is a rental. What he gives the Dodgers is a veteran with extensive postseason experience who has some power, draws some walks and is considered a great clubhouse guy. He's basically what the team was hoping Pederson would be.
Now you may look at his .228 batting average and not think much of an upgrade, but his OPS is 111, meaning he is 11% better than the average hitter (Pederson's OPS was 95, meaning he was 5% worse than the average hitter.) Granderson has also played in 59 postseason games, including two World Series.
Also, after a horrible April, Granderson has since hit .259/.378/.561 with 19 doubles and 18 home runs.
As for Pederson, since reaching a season-high .253 average on July 15, he is hitting .116/.218/.261 and had two hits in his last 41 at-bats. I've defended Pederson since this newsletter began, but it was time for a change. The Dodgers couldn't afford to have such a black hole in the lineup. Now Pederson will go to the minors and can work on improving his swing, which has more holes in it than a Krispy Kreme store on National Doughnut day.
I have been highly critical of Friedman and Zaidi in the past, but you can't complain about what they have done this season. They have given the Dodgers the best chance to win the Series. You can't ask for more than that. Now it is up to the players, and judging by their play this season, they are more than up to the task. No victory is guaranteed, but you'd have to favor L.A. if the World Series started today.
Zaidi told Bill Plaschke about the trade: "I don't think we're sitting back thinking, 'We have this great won-loss record, let's not try to get better.' That doesn't make a lot of sense. When you get to the playoffs, records don't mean anything. It's whoever has the best record for two or three weeks."
And for those of you worried that this will hurt team chemistry: These guys are professionals. I don't think removing Pederson will cause anyone to say "Why bother?"
That was fast
Yu Darvish is already on the disabled list. His back locked up on him after his last outing, so to be extra cautious, the Dodgers put him on the 10-day DL and will skip his next start.
"Yu feels like he can physically go," Manager Dave Roberts said. "But I think as an organization, we're trying to really do what's best for him. And if there's any kind of thought to his back being sore or stiff, for us to run him out there doesn't make much sense, where we're at."
The obscure Dodgers record of the week
The Dodgers are on pace to hit 232 home runs this season. The Dodger teams that have hit the most homers:
1. 2000 Dodgers, 211
2. 1953 Dodgers, 208
3. 2001 Dodgers, 206
4. 2004 Dodgers, 203
5. 1955 Dodgers, 201
6. 1950 Dodgers, 194
7. 1977 Dodgers, 191
8. 2016 Dodgers, 189
9. 1999 Dodgers, 187
10. 2015 Dodgers, 187
If for some reason this year's Dodgers didn't hit another homer the rest of the season, they would still be in 15th place all-time.
Monday, 4 p.m. PT, Dodgers (Alex Wood, 14-1, 2.30) at Pittsburgh (Gerrit Cole, 10-8, 4.04)
Tuesday, 4 p.m. PT, Dodgers (Brock Stewart, 0-0, 1.64) at Pittsburgh (Jameson Taillon, 7-5, 4.64)
Wednesday, 4 p.m. PT, Dodgers (Rich Hill, 9-4, 3.54) at Pittsburgh (Trevor Williams, 5-6, 4.71)
Thursday, 1 p.m. PT, Dodgers (Hyun-jin Ryu, 4-6, 3.45) at Pittsburgh (Chad Kuhl, 6-8, 4.52)
Note: Pitchers are subject to change.
The Dodgers are on pace to finish with a 116-46 record.
Their magic number to clinch another NL West title is 23.
The San Francisco Giants have already been eliminated from NL West title contention.
For those of you living in the L.A. area, six more Dodger games will be on KTLA-TV Channel 5 this season. All of them will be on a Tuesday. They are:
Aug. 22, 4 p.m. at Pittsburgh
Aug. 29, 6:30 p.m. at Arizona
Sept. 5, 7 p.m. vs. Arizona
Sept. 12, 7:15 p.m. at San Francisco
Sept. 19, 4 p.m. at Philadelphia
Sept. 26, 7 p.m. vs. San Diego
Cody Bellinger gets a day off after spraining his ankle, and Clayton Kershaw throws off a mound. Read all about it here.