Wednesday, August 13, 2014

In the early going, Colletti's small trades have paid off

Let me start off by saying that each of the three players Ned Colletti has traded for have only started one game for the Dodgers.  So let's not get too carried away about what we see.

But hey, Roberto Hernandez, Kevin Correia, and Darwin Barney have all played great and the Dodgers are six games up in the NL West.  So why shouldn't we be excited?

All three men were brought in for depth, and they had great debuts.  Encouraging enough for the Dodgers to feel pretty darn good about who they have going forward.

Let's take a look at them:

Robert Hernandez.  He got the start last week in Milwaukee in what turned out to be a 9-3 loss.  That was more because Justin Turner had a meltdown at short, and the floodgates opened.  Hernandez overcame two runs and three hits in the first inning so throw five perfect innings after that.  Can't beat that.

How effective was Hernandez during that game?  He retired the final 17 batters in a row he faced.  The offense gave him a 3-2 lead in the seventh, but like I said before, it was all downhill from there.  Still, he looks like a legit option for the fifth starter, and has definitely earned more starts going forward.

Kevin Correia.  Hernandez had pretty good numbers coming in from Philly... but Correia definitely did not in Minnesota.  His ERA hovered around five on a team going nowhere.  So when he got the start against the Braves on Monday, it would've been hard to be optimistic.

The result?  Six innings of one-run ball, guiding the Dodgers to a 6-2 win.  He just looked rejuvenated, mixing his pitches and looking sharp all night.  He probably could've kept going at only 82 pitches, but it was probably a smart move by Don Mattingly to yank him on a high note.  I would think that's only a spot start and he'll eventually fill the long relief role vacated by Paul Maholm.  But if Monday was any indication, he looks like he can fill either role just fine.

Darwin Barney.  With Dee Gordon slowing down a bit as he's playing deeper in a season than he's ever been used to, the Barney acquisition looked really good on Tuesday.  Getting his first start at second, he went 1-for-4 with an RBI single and run scored.

But, his real value didn't really show up in the box score.  He showed his legs in the ninth when he reached on an error at short and hustled to second.  After going to third on a groundout, he perfectly read a passed ball and scampered home to go up 4-2.  With Kenley Jansen going for his 33rd save, he ranged behind him to catch a popup in short center.  Not a bad first start to say the least.

Overall, all three have at least given Mattingly confidence to rest some regulars and put them in again.  What also helps tremendously is that the Giants are in another free fall, and the rest of the NL West flat out sucks.  Why not sprinkle in some bench players to keep everyone fresh in the stretch run?  Makes sense to me.

If you throw in Dan Haren's last two starts, which have been great, then there's a lot to like about the back end of the 25-man roster.  It's not like I expect all of them to keep dominating, as there were plenty of reasons why they had subpar numbers in the first place.  But, I do think something has to be said about joining a winning team.

It makes everyone feel better about themselves and how they play.  Now keep it going!

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