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BASEBALL EXTRA | DODGER REPORT : NOTES

No Mr. Clutch on This Team

May 24, 1997|BOB NIGHTENGALE

Although the Dodgers have sorely missed a consistent leadoff hitter, they have been woefully inept hitting with runners in scoring position.

They are hitting .224 with runners in scoring position and .175 with two outs and runners in scoring position.

The heart of the order has been most to blame:

* Mike Piazza is hitting .194 with runners in scoring position and .100 with two outs.

* Eric Karros is hitting .158 with runners in scoring position and .100 with two outs.

* Raul Mondesi is hitting .244 with runners in scoring position and .167 with two outs.

* Todd Zeile is hitting .237 with runners in scoring position and .200 with two outs.

" You know that won't keep up all year," Manager Bill Russell said. "You know they're going to eventually put up the numbers like they have the last few years. That has to change. It's just got to."

*

Karros has five stolen bases, which ranks second on the team. He began the season with only 16 steals in his five-year career.

"I'm not going to steal a base just to say, 'Oh, boy, I stole a base,' "Karros said. "It's just that the way we're going right now, any time we can get in scoring position, you've got to take it. We don't get into scoring position too often. I'm sure if we were swinging the bat the way we're capable of, I wouldn't be going."

*

Third-base coach Joe Amalfitano returned to work Friday night after missing the last week to be with his wife, Kay, who was involved in a serious car accident. Amalfitano said Kay is doing fine and should fully recover. . . . Brett Butler, who has torn cartilage in his left shoulder, threw for 15 minutes with limited pain. . . . Reliever Darren Dreifort probably will undergo a brief rehabilitative assignment before he is activated from the disabled list.

TONIGHT'S GAME

DODGERS' RAMON MARTINEZ (3-3, 3.71 ERA) vs. BRAVES' TOM GLAVINE (5-2, 2.08 ERA)

Dodger Stadium, 7

TV--Fox West Sports 2. Radio--KABC (790, KWKW (1330.

* Update--The Dodgers will be facing the highest-paid pitcher in history when they go against Tom Glavine, who just signed a four-year, $34-million contract. The last time the Dodgers faced Glavine, April 28 in Atlanta, the Braves won, 14-0, in the largest shutout victory over the Dodgers in 32 years. Glavine gave up three singles in seven innings. Realizing that the Dodgers were expecting him to rely on his nasty changeup, Glavine threw 61 fastballs--45 for strikes. The result was seven strikeouts and only four fly-ball outs. Glavine has struggled at Dodger Stadium, where he is 5-7 with a 3.91 earned-run average, yielding a .303 batting average. Ramon Martinez is pitching well again, yielding two or fewer runs in three consecutive starts for a 2.25 ERA. In Martinez's three losses this season, the Dodgers have scored only one run. The Dodgers hope to get some production out of Mike Piazza and Eric Karros, who have combined for only six RBIs since May 4.

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