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Series Preview: Archer’s chance to shine in LA, Moore to follow

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Tampa Bay Rays v Boston Red Sox Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

The Rays head to Los Angeles to take on the Dodgers in a two game bout. Chris Archer and Matt Moore will be auditioning for potential suitors as we head to the trade deadline. The Dodgers are fresh off winning series against the Nationals and Cardinals.

This week will be telling for the direction of the franchise as we head into the trade deadline. If pitchers continue to pitch like they are capable of it will be good for their trade value and the Rays chances heading into next year.

Matchups:

Tuesday: Chris Archer vs Bud Norris

Wednesday: Matt Moore vs Brandon McCarthy

What will the Dodgers do without Clayton Kershaw?

In the month of July the Dodger’s pitching staff has stepped up as they have posted a 3.65 ERA (10th) and 3.35 FIP (2nd) for the month. This has led the team to a 12-7 record. The team was 30-35 before Kershaw went on the disabled list in games that Kershaw did not start. They have helped steady the shape as they hopefully await his return.

Bud Norris was obtained about a month ago in order to try to stabilize their rotation. He pitched pretty well for an innings eating #5 starter with a 4.22 ERA and 3.82 FIP over 70.1 innings. His four starts with the Dodgers haven’t gone as well as he has an elevated 20.8% HR/FB rate over 22.1 innings that has led to a 5.63 ERA and 4.53 FIP. Left handed batters have gone off for a .300/.399/.541 line and .398 wOBA this season. He has been very effective against right handed batters as they have only managed a .229/.273/.325 line and .260 wOBA.

Brandon McCarthy has had trouble staying healthy, but been effective when he’s on the mound and this year is no different. This will be the fifth start of the season for the veteran right handed pitcher as he’s attempting to come back from Tommy John Surgery. McCarthy has only pitched 22.1 innings, but has been dominant as he has a 1.61 ERA and 2.33 FIP over that span. He has struck out 32.1% of batters while walking 8.6%.

Who’s bullpen has the best ERA in the majors?

The Dodgers are tied with Nationals as the best in the majors at 2.98 and are one of six teams ahead of the Yankees (Dodgers, Nationals, Astros, Orioles, Mets, and Royals). Kenley Jansen has been a beast in the closer’s role, but the big surprise has been former Rays farmhand Adam Libertore.

Kenley Jansen is putting up a strong pre-FA season for the Blue Shield of California. He has a 1.44 ERA and 1.72 FIP. He has struck out 35.0% of batters and only walked 4.4% of them. Right handed batters are hitting a dreadful .103/.148/.221 against him which is good for a .155 wOBA. Jansen is setting himself up to be one of the top prizes in a weak free agent class.

Adam Libertore, who was part of the Joel Peralta trade with the Dodgers, is breaking out this season. The left handed pitcher has a 1.35 ERA and 2.06 FIP. That is due to regress as he’s hasn’t allowed a HR yet, but he has struck out 29.8% of batters faced and walked 9.2%. Last year he struggled with a 4.25 ERA, but did post a 3.40 FIP in the first 29.2 innings of his MLB career. His K% has soared from 23.8% to 29.8% and is one of the major components of his breakout. He has been really tough on left handed bats as they have only hit .136/.208/.231 and have a .191 wOBA.

Dodgers have the best offense in the league since the all-star break.

With Kershaw on the mend, the Dodgers bats have stepped up big time as they have scored 52 runs in their nine games since the break. The team has hit .285/.351/.449 which is good for a 119 wRC+.

For the season the Dodgers are a pretty average to below average offense as they have only hit for a .246/.319/.399 line good for a 95 wRC+. It looks like the Rays are catching them at a bad time, but the pitchers have stepped up since the break so something has to give.

Corey Seager has been their leader on the offensive side of the ball as he’s hit .306/.363/.525 and 138 wRC+ in his first full season in the majors and has hit 17 homeruns.

Justin Turner has been their second big bat as he has hit .272/.348/.491 and a 127 wRC+. Over the last 30 days Turner has been out of his mind as he’s hitting .344/.406/.688 and 190 wRC+ over 106 plate appearances.

This is a chance for Archer and Moore to showcase what they have on a big stage.

With a week until the trade deadline the Rays need to continue to get good starts from their pitchers they could move. Even if they aren’t moved good results will make the path to take during the off season much clearer.

The Rays have two off days this week and will return to the Trop this weekend after this west coast trip and back to baseball games at times that are good for other than those with insomnia.