Though the July 31 trade deadline is still more than six weeks away, there has been heavy speculation regarding the Dodgers, who are pursuing a bat -- Florida third baseman Mike Lowell is the preferred candidate -- to add to a woeful offense that ranks last in the National League in runs, home runs, slugging percentage, on-base percentage and walks.
But if the Dodgers who were supposed to provide the pop this season would begin to hit even close to their capabilities, General Manager Dan Evans might not need to make a deal this summer.
Right fielder Shawn Green began Tuesday night's game against the Giants with a .256 average, seven home runs and 35 runs batted in, 29 points off his career average of .285.
He's on pace for 17 homers and 83 RBIs, far off his major league averages of 30 homers and 90 RBIs and even further off his pace of 2001 and 2002, when he averaged 45 homers and 120 RBIs.
Third baseman Adrian Beltre had a .207 average with four homers and 20 RBIs, 60 points off his career average. He's on pace for 10 homers and 48 RBIs after averaging 16 homers and 62 RBIs his first five seasons.
First baseman Fred McGriff's power numbers (10 homers, 35 RBIs) are respectable, but he's batting .242, 44 points off his career mark, and left fielder Brian Jordan, who was batting .293 with five homers and 26 RBIs, was on pace for only 12 homers and 62 RBIs.
"No doubt, if guys just did what they're capable of doing, we can put together a team that can win a championship," center fielder Dave Roberts said. "It's not too farfetched to think we're going to get it going this year. But no one is panicking yet. We have 40 wins on June 17; we're right where we need to be."
The Dodgers have come up with clutch hits to win low-scoring games, "but we can't get the big hit to blow games open," Jordan said. "When a couple of guys get hot, it seems contagious, but that hasn't happened yet."
At what point does Evans determine whether that will happen at all?
"I think at the All-Star break," Jordan said. "The GM sits back and says it's not going to work with certain guys, let's make changes."
Daryle Ward, on the disabled list since May 30 because of tendinitis in his right wrist, was activated before Tuesday's game, and outfielder Bubba Crosby was sent to triple-A Las Vegas.
Ward, who began with a .169 average, no home runs and five RBIs in 71 at-bats, started at first base, singling to left in the second inning and scoring the Dodgers' second run. He believes better production will come with better health.
"My hand feels good," Ward said. "The swelling is gone, it's normal size, just like the other one, the tendons are not inflamed, and I can grip the bat. All is well."
McGriff sat out his third consecutive game Tuesday night because of a tender left groin and is listed as day to day. ... Right-hander Darren Dreifort will undergo surgery today to repair the medial collateral ligament in his right knee.... Reliever Guillermo Mota, suffering from severe flu-like symptoms, was unavailable Tuesday night and is questionable for tonight.... Giant first baseman J.T. Snow left Tuesday night's game in the first inning because of a strained left groin and is listed as day to day.
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Paul Lo Duca extended his hitting streak to 24 games Tuesday against the San Francisco Giants, tying John Shelby on the Dodgers' all-time list. A look:
*--* Player Games Dates Willie Davis 31 Aug. 1-Sept. 3, 1969 Zack Wheat * 29 Aug. 20-Sep. 16, 1916 Joe Medwick * 27 May 23-June 25, 1942 Duke Snider * 27 Aug. 19-Sept. 13, 1953 Willie Keeler * 26 Aug. 8-Sept. 3, 1902 Zack Wheat * 26 July 11-Aug. 7, 1918 Harvey Hendrick * 26 April 20-May 30, 1929 Buzz Boyle * 25 May 1-June 5, 1934 Willie Davis 25 May 5-June 2, 1971 Steve Sax 25 Sept. 1-27, 1986 Paul Lo Duca 24 May 17-present John Shelby 24 May 14-June 9, 1988
* played for Brooklyn