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BASEBALL

Dodgers' AL woes go on

They blame themselves more than the quality of opponents for struggles in interleague play.

June 23, 2010|Baxter Holmes

Word is the Dodgers can't hack it against the American League. And word is getting around.

It tells of a team that is 2-8 in interleague play this season and that has lost eight such games in a row, including Tuesday's 6-3 defeat to the Angels at Angel Stadium.

But perhaps it's not surprising that the Dodgers lost at the Angels' ballpark. They're 13-25 here all-time, their worst record at any current stadium.

Then again, maybe it is not surprising that the Dodgers have lost to anybody from the AL, no matter the location. Including this season and the previous two, the Dodgers are 16-27 in interleague play.

"You have to lose them somewhere," Dodgers Manager Joe Torre joked.

The Dodgers end their annual foray against AL opponents Sunday against the New York Yankees, and smart money says Torre has that date circled.

"It gets in your head a little bit," Torre said of his team's interleague struggles.

So losing to the AL is in the Dodgers' heads?

"I guess you can use all those things, but I choose not to, because if you think in terms of 'this club, the American League, we can't beat them,' then I'm defeated," he said.

"And I can't think that way. I'm just thinking of players against players, teams against teams and go into it accordingly, because I don't even want to hint that we may be short-suited here or there because it's not fair to our players, really."

Dodgers utility player Jamey Carroll (Cleveland) and pitcher John Ely (Chicago White Sox) played in AL systems last season, and said people consider the subtle differences to be bigger factors than they are.

Facing a designated hitter, for instance, when playing at an AL park, doesn't bother Ely, who is scheduled to start for the Dodgers on Wednesday against the Angels.

"It's another hitter in the lineup, that's all it is," Ely said.

Facing pitchers you don't normally see, as another example, doesn't really bother Carroll either.

"Pitchers may have an advantage at that [initial] point, but at the same time, there's video to watch and anticipate what's going to happen," he said.

Still, before Tuesday, the Dodgers were batting .231 (67 for 289) in interleague play and had an earned-run average of 5.49. Both statistics were down from their overall averages (.266 and 4.12).

Granted, the team did just get swept by the Angels and the Boston Red Sox in consecutive weekends, two teams that made the playoffs last season, but Ely isn't buying it.

"Look at the numbers," Ely said. "Right now, we're not playing the best ball we can. Anybody who walks in from the street can see that. It doesn't matter who we're playing. It's not the teams we're playing. It's us."

Before Tuesday's game, Torre agreed.

"I'm not sure I can say that it's because of who we're playing," he said. "I think a lot of the consistencies have been our fault and we just haven't pitched the same kind of game."

Yet, it's a bit of a coincidence that those inconsistencies seem to pop up annually when the Dodgers begin interleague play.

"I guess," he said. "I'm just judging it. I mean, is it tougher to pitch through those lineups? You're damn right it is. And we had two quality games we didn't hit over the weekend. So I blame pitching for a lot of it."

baxter.holmes@latimes.com

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