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Dodgers winning despite Kershaw injury

The Los Angeles Dodgers are rolling. Despite being without ace pitcher Clayton Kershaw since June 26, Los Angeles is defying all the odds at 59-46, holding firm at two games behind the San Francisco Giants in the National League West.

If the Major League Baseball season ended today, the Dodgers would be hosting the NL Wild Card Game against the Miami Marlins.

Kershaw still leads the team in wins (11), ERA (1.79) and strikeouts (145) even without throwing a baseball in more than a month. With the southpaw still not beginning his rehab due to back pain, Los Angeles would appear from the outside to need starting pitching more than ever should it want to get to the World Series for the first time since 1988.

Yet, the last month might be telling us a different story. The Dodgers are getting wonderful results from Scott Kazmir and Brandon McCarthy, two veterans who were basically thrown on the discard pile before Independence Day. In the month of July, McCarthy posted a 2.39 ERA and a pair of wins while Kazmir earned a trio of victories to go with a 3.58 ERA. When you factor in that de facto ace pitcher Kenta Maeda posted an ERA over 5.00 in July – and that he has nothing to do but improve in August – perhaps the Dodgers can get by.

However, reality still dictates that another starter is an absolute must should Kershaw not get back on the mound in 2016. Maeda is unproven and while McCarthy and Kazmir are both pitching well of late, they each are older vets with serious injury risks. With Bud Norris getting pulled in the first inning of his start on Sunday, general manager Andrew Friedman might need to up the ante.

Rumors have been swirling that the Dodgers are interested in both Oakland Athletics starter Rich Hill and Chris Archer of the Tampa Bay Rays. Hill would cost less as he is 36 years old, while Archer would be a staple for years to come. Los Angeles has the prospects to make it happen, and with the Giants in a tailspin and its own roster aging rapidly, now is the time to go for broke.

The Dodgers have a real chance to win the NL West, but not without some serious help from management. Unless you are from the school of thought which believes Maeda is a top-flight starter at this juncture of his career, and that Kazmir and McCarthy are going to keep dealing, another quality arm has to be added.

With only one day left until the Aug. 1 trade deadline, Friedman has to make his move. If that means giving up an extra prospect to make his team a legit contender, so be it.

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