The Arizona Diamondbacks made a couple of moves to bolster their lineup during the All-Star break. They dropped the non-productive first baseman, Juan Miranda in favor of giving the minor league star, Brandon Allen a chance. By calling up Geoff Blum in place of Wily Mo Pena they swapped an explosive bat with a sub-.200 average for a switch-hitting contact guy that can play multiple positions in the field.
The offense, however, wasn't really the D-backs problem. The team already ranked in the top-three in the National League in runs scored, home runs, slugging and OPS. In other words, the team already generates plenty of runs from power hitting despite getting nearly nothing from Miranda at first.
The real moves will come (if they come) to the pitching staff. Closer J.J. Putz was supposed to be back from the DL after the break but it looks like he's at least a few days away. Even with Putz healthy and closing well, the bullpen desperately needs another arm. That arm could very well be Josh Collmenter who dominated in relief but struggled as a starter once guys get used to his funky arm angle.
The D-backs however, can't just move Collmenter back to the pen since they also have a problem with their other starter, Zach Duke. Can the team find two more arms to add to the rotation from either the minor league system or trades? We'll know soon enough with the MLB trade deadline fast approaching.
Before we get to all the wheeling and dealing, there's still games to be played. 70 of them left in the regular season and three against the Los Angeles Dodgers of Bud Selig starting Friday. Here's the pitching match ups:
Friday (6:40 p.m.) : Joe Saunders (6-7, 3.86) vs. Clayton Kershaw (9-4, 3.03)
Saturday (5:10 p.m.) : Ian Kennedy (9-3, 3.44) vs. Hiroki Kuroda (9-4, 3.03)
Sunday (1:10 p.m.) : Daniel Hudson (9-5, 3.74) vs. Ted Lilly (6-9, 4.79)
All three games will be broadcast on Fox Sports Arizona with live game threads at AZ Snake Pit.
Series Preview #31: Arizona Diamondbacks vs. Los Angeles Dodgers - AZ Snake Pit
Obviously, the biggest story surrounding the Los Angeles Dodgers this season has nothing to do with the nine guys on the diamond, as Major League Baseball took over day-to-day operation of the Dodgers from owner Frank McCourt in April, citing concerns about the team's financial situation. This saga came to a head on June 27, when the team filed for bankrupcy.
Add to this mess the fact that the team itself isn't very good in 2011. The Dodgers head into the second half of the season with a record of 41-51, eleven games out of first in the NL West. And with the team's financials the way that they are, it's likely that they will be sellers at the deadline.