LOS ANGELES – Whatever the last four nights at Dodger Stadium could have suggested about Cubs and October, they at least reinforced what the Cubs already knew of July:
Even with Prime Minister Craig Kimbrel in the group, they need left-handed help for their brief until the July 31 trade deadline.
"Most suitors normally make some changes in the pen at some point," said the team's president, Theo Epstein, by moving away from targeted areas. "We will continue to try to stay proactive and it's very competitive. We will see. There is still a long way to go before the end of July. "
The month of October could be short, assuming the Cubs go there, if they do not find better options for left-handers in the paddock – especially if the powerful Dodgers obstruct, as many hope.
The best hitters in the formidable lineup of the Dodgers are left-handed, and they took turns managing the left-handed throwers of the Cubs all weekend.
The best, Cody Bellinger, was 8-0 with four home runs and two goals against six Cubs left-backs in seven Cubs-Dodgers this season.
He was 5-in-7 with three of the circuits over the four-game series that just ended, including a tying left-footer Jose Quintana in the sixth inning of the Cubs' 3-2 defeat on Sunday.
"It's something you have to keep understanding," said Cubs coach Joe Maddon, whose club did not have to face Corey Seager, star of the All-Star Dodgers , who had been injured in the hamstrings before the series. .
"You have to find [the Dodgers’ lefty hitters] at the wrong time. With our up-and-coming team, once Craig has arrived, we might be able to do some things differently, earlier, to try to keep tracks. But for now, they pose a lot of problems because they work well at bat. They do not hunt. You must take them out to the area. You must."
Which brings him back to having powerful left-handers who can challenge such dangerous hitters. If the Indians become sellers shortly after the deadline, the Cubs will almost certainly attack Brad Hand, a target of recent years. And the Sean Doolittle of the Nationals could be the best choice.
Hand, the former closest to the Padres, has limited the left-handed Dodgers to 2-in-21 strikes in his career. The Dodgers' left-handers are 0-to-6 against Doolittle in their few meetings.
"I'm just looking for someone," said Maddon, who explained how to find solutions to Cubs' problems with these Dodgers hitters here at an October rematch.
"There are right-handed [Carl Edwards Jr. with his cut fastball] it can also do a good job there, it eliminates left-handed people. If we can get Carl back to normal, he's really in this box. . . . It's the right-handed kind that could also be beneficial against the southpaw. "
Edwards was rocking well before being on the 10-day list of injured on Thursday because of a left chest sprain on his upper back, near his unseen shoulder.
The elimination of the August waiver deals adds even more intrigue – and potential competition – to block players in July.
"I do not think we have seen the slightest difference, but the teams are stubborn to find out how they will handle some sort of approach to a chance," Epstein said.
The needs of the Cubs having been defined so narrow after the addition of Kimbrel and the champion Carlos Gonzalez before, it seems that it gives them an advantage over other buyers, especially when the depth is beautiful everywhere.
"The second you say that, then things come up," Epstein replied. "I love the team we have and the depth we have, but I think you're always looking to improve and strengthen the weaknesses. As it works this year, you almost have to anticipate the needs before they happen, because you will not be able to answer them later, beyond what you already have internally. "