Sarah's Take: Dodgers must repair pitching leaks

LA is back in NL West race, but rotation, bullpen running on fumes

Sarah's Take: Dodgers must repair pitching leaks

The pennant race between the San Francisco Giants and the Los Angeles Dodgers is heating up.

The Giants had a 6 1/2-game lead at the All-Star break, but heading into Tuesday's games, they lead the Dodgers by just a half-game.

Both teams have had to deal with significant injuries.

Since Spring Training, the Dodgers have had a difficult time putting together a starting rotation. Before injuries occurred, many members of the media questioned how well the Dodgers rotation would do. After Clayton Kershaw, the rotation appeared to be weak.

Although the Dodgers' rotation has the fifth-lowest ERA in the National League, the starters don't tend to pitch deep into games. The starters have hurled the fourth-fewest innings in the league.

In his initial starts after having Tommy John elbow surgery, Brandon McCarthy had exhibited nearly perfect control. But more recently he has had problems, and apparently was attempting to pitch with a stiff hip. On Monday the Dodgers placed McCarthy on the 15-day disabled list.

The much-anticipated return of Brett Anderson from back surgery was a disaster on Sunday. Facing the Pittsburgh Pirates, Anderson allowed five runs on two home runs. He couldn't continue after the first inning because he had a sprained left wrist. The Dodgers want an MRI on the troublesome wrist before they determine what to do with him.

With so many injuries to the rotation, the Dodgers' bullpen has been overworked, and it's beginning to be less effective. Although it still has the second-lowest ERA in the National League, at the All-Star break it had the best.

Since the All-Star break, the injury bug has hit the bullpen. Adam Liberatore, Casey Fien, Chris Hatcher, Louis Coleman and Josh Ravin have gone on the DL.

At the Aug. 1 non-waiver Trade Deadline, many members of the media thought the Dodgers' front office would go after pitching, especially with the return of Kershaw this year in serious doubt. Although it obtained two pitchers -- a starter (Rich Hill) and a reliever (Jesse Chavez), it appeared to be more intent on finding a buyer for Yasiel Puig and locating his replacement. Josh Reddick may have solidified the defense in right field, but he is hitting only .178 as a Dodger.

Hill, 36, hasn't been off the disabled list since the Dodgers acquired him from the Oakland Athletics. Although he had great statistics before developing a blister, no one knows when he will be able to pitch.

The Dodgers acquired Chavez from the Toronto Blue Jays in hopes of having an effective long man who could pitch a lot of innings when a starter couldn't go at least five. Since he has been a Dodger, he has pitched nine innings and has a 5.00 ERA.

The Dodgers have depleted the farm system looking for pitchers who were close to Major League quality. Now they can't promote anyone else who is ready since they are already in Los Angeles. The Dodgers have the fourth-highest ERA in the National League since the break.

Until Aug. 31, the Dodgers can obtain players who can compete in October. Yes, these players must clear waivers. The Dodgers must decide if they think they have a legitimate shot at going deep in the playoffs. If they don't, they shouldn't trade for anything. However, if they do, they must acquire quality pitching.

Sarah D. Morris can be reached at This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.