Arms re­main on top of list

Fried­man will con­cen­trate on find­ing more start­ing pitch­ing for Dodgers.

Los Angeles Times - - SPORTS - By Dy­lan Her­nan­dez

CHICAGO — A six- week of­fen­sive slump hasn’t changed the Dodgers’ pri­or­i­ties head­ing into the July 31 non- waiver trade dead­line, the team’s pres­i­dent of base­ball oper­a­tions said Wed­nes­day.

Speak­ing be­fore the Dodgers’ 5- 2 vic­tory over the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field, An­drew Fried­man said his front of­fice re­mains fo­cused on bol­ster­ing a start­ing ro­ta­tion that has lost Hyun- Jin Ryu and Bran­don McCarthy to sea­so­nend­ing oper­a­tions.

Adding an of­fen­sive re­in­force­ment is “a lower pri­or­ity,” Fried­man said.

The Dodgers have scored two or fewer runs in 21 of their last 38 games, but Fried­man said he was con­fi­dent the f irst- place team would start hit­ting again.

“As we as­sess things and look un­der the hood and dig on things, you’re eval­u­at­ing the qual­ity of at- bats, the qual­ity of con­tact, the work ethic, how guys are get­ting af­ter it,” Fried­man said. “All of it sug­gests our guys are go­ing to get go­ing again and this will be kind of a small blip on the radar.”

Fried­man de­scribed the Dodgers’ f irst 35 games as some­thing of an ano­maly, as

they av­er­aged a league- high 5.3 runs per game in that pe­riod. But if that wasn’t an ac­cu­rate mea­sure of their abil­ity, nei­ther are the most re­cent 38 games, he said.

“In the f irst six weeks we were for­tu­nate in that, one through eight, our bats were per­form­ing re­ally well,” he said. “They were all kind of hot at the same time. In this last lit­tle mini- funk, a num­ber of guys have been strug­gling rel­a­tive to them­selves all at the same time. Usu­ally, you have two, three guys who are hot; two, three guys who are per­form­ing at ex­pec­ta­tion; and a few guys who are strug­gling. It’s not usu­ally that high of a high or that low of a low, and, so, I kind of ex­pect that to smooth out and be more nor­mal go­ing for­ward.”

So Fried­man wasn’t ready to con­cede he did a bad job of con­struct­ing this team? Fried­man smiled. “Not yet,” he said in jest. The Dodgers won for only the third time in 10 games Wed­nes­day, as Adrian Gon­za­lez launched a solo home run in the sec­ond in­ning and Justin Turner added a three­run blast in the third.

Start­ing pitcher Mike Bolsinger lasted only 4 2⁄3 in­nings, but five re­liev­ers com­bined to pitch 4 1⁄3 score­less in­nings.

Fried­man said he was com­fort­able with whom the Dodgers have in the bullpen, es­pe­cially with Pe­dro Baez, Paco Ro­driguez and Bran­don League close to re­turn­ing from the dis­abled list.

As for the Dodgers’ trade talks in­volv­ing start­ing pitch­ers, Fried­man said they were still in pre­lim­i­nary stages.

The up­com­ing free- agent class will in­clude some starters on non­con­tend­ing teams, in­clud­ing Johnny Cueto of the Cincinnati Reds and Scott Kazmir of the Oak- land Ath­let­ics. But Fried­man said the Dodgers have also ex­plored po­ten­tial deals for pitch­ers with mul­ti­ple sea­sons re­main­ing on their con­tracts. The team is known to have scouted Cole Hamels of the Philadelphia Phillies, who has three years and $ 70.5 mil­lion re­main­ing on his con­tract af­ter this sea­son.

Of­fen­sive ad­di­tions prob­a­bly will come from triple- A Ok­la­homa City, which is where Cuban in­fielder Hec­tor Oliv­era and top prospect Corey Sea­ger are play­ing.

Oliv­era is on the dis­abled list with a strained ham­string and is ex­pected to be side­lined for two or three weeks.

Fried­man im­plied he wouldn’t pro­mote ei­ther one of them for the sake of mak­ing a change.

“It’s just never go­ing to be some­thing knee- jerk,” Fried­man said.

Fried­man also touched on the mount­ing crit­i­cism di­rected at Man­ager Don Mat­tingly from fans on so­cial media.

“First and fore­most, this mini­funk we’re in is all our faults — front of­fice, coach­ing staff, play­ers,” Fried­man said. “But there’s no fin­ger point­ing. We’re all try­ing to fig­ure out the best way we can get out of this as quickly as we can. There’s ab­so­lutely no panic in our group be­cause we ap­pre­ci­ate how tal­ented our ros­ter is.

“And by our group, I mean ev­ery­one — the front of­fice, the coach­ing staff, the play­ers. Ev­ery­one ap­pre­ci­ates how much tal­ent is in that room and how much guys care. And by car­ing, I mean their work ethic and fo­cus on how to im­prove.

“Again, I think it’s all of our faults. I don’t think it’s fair to put it on any one per­son.”

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