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DODGERS FYI

Hitters do nothing after fourth inning

June 01, 2008|Dylan Hernandez | Times Staff Writer

NEW YORK -- The Dodgers' offensive slump resumed after a one-day hiatus, as they were held to seven hits and had their last 18 batters retired in order in their 3-2 loss to the New York Mets on Saturday.

They had Mets starter Mike Pelfrey in trouble a couple of times, but Pelfrey managed to minimize the damage.

The Dodgers went up by a run in the first inning, when Matt Kemp was nearly thrown out at second trying to take an extra base on a single to right. But Mets shortstop Jose Reyes couldn't catch the throw from Endy Chavez, which resulted in a run by Juan Pierre, who went from first to third on Kemp's hit.

The Dodgers made it 2-0 in the fourth, when Russell Martin scored on a single to left by rookie Blake DeWitt. That was the last runner of the day for the Dodgers.

Jeff Kent has batted third for the last two games, the only games this season he has hit anywhere other than cleanup. James Loney hit fourth and Martin was fifth.

"I think with the personnel we have, we could interchange pieces," Dodgers Manager Joe Torre said. "I had the situation in New York. The experience is different, but we had a number of different guys who could hit 3, 4, 5, 6 -- those are the power spots and those are the production spots."

Through Friday, the Dodgers were hitting .211 with men in scoring position since May 7, which ranked 29th in the majors. Their 3.29 runs per game in that span were tied for the lowest in baseball.

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Saturday marked the 31st anniversary of Torre's managerial debut, which was made with the Mets at Shea Stadium. Torre was a player-manager for the Mets in the first 18 days of his tenure.

Said Torre: "You know what's fun about that? When you get to tell a guy, 'I'm going to hit for you.' "

Torre did that twice, once when he knew he would be intentionally walked and again when he knew it would be his last at-bat.

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Chin-lung Hu admits that he's feeling lost at the plate.

The 24-year old rookie was out of the lineup Saturday, his place in the lineup taken by recent call-up Luis Maza for the third time in five days. Hu's only starts in that span were on days Kent was unable to play because of stiffness in his lower back.

Hu is 0 for his last 15, dipping his season average to .170.

Torre and third base coach Larry Bowa have lamented how the absence of Furcal is costing Hu the chance to round out his game at triple-A Las Vegas.

Hu said that he feels everything is fine when he works in the batting cages. Games are a different story.

"I think too much about where my legs should be, about having my hands up," Hu said. "I forget about what the pitcher wants to pitch to me."

Said hitting coach Mike Easler: "He's trying too hard."

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DeWitt has started fielding ground balls at second base before games. . . . Gary Bennett's problem of throwing the ball back to the mound appear to be resolved based on the reports out of Vero Beach, Torre said. The idea of sending Bennett somewhere to help him with his mental block was first floated in spring training. . . . Martin will catch today and sit out the opening game of the Dodgers' upcoming homestand Monday.

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dylan.hernandez@latimes.com

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