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This is a test: Speedy Dee Gordon off to slow start

April 20, 2012|By Steve Dilbeck
  • Dodgers shortstop Dee Gordon makes a throw to first base during a game against the San Diego Padres on Saturday.
Dodgers shortstop Dee Gordon makes a throw to first base during a game against… (Alex Gallardo / Associated…)

So exactly how patient are you?

Better be plenty, if you’re on board the Dee Gordon express. It does not figure as the smoothest of rides. Think 1869 Union Pacific vs. The Chunnel.

Everyone loves Gordon’s potential and the excitement he brings when he gets on base. The trouble, of course, is him getting on base.

After his 0-for-4 performance Thursday, Gordon’s batting average fell to .192, and probably worse for a leadoff hitter, his on-base percentage dropped to .263.

Thirteen games into a season is not much to measure by, but clearly it is not a pace either he or the Dodgers can continue with indefinitely. Of course, the Dodgers are pretty much wed to Gordon. Their only real alternative is Justin Sellers, who has one hit in six at-bats and is coming off a rookie season where he hit .203.

The Dodgers understand Gordon’s first full season in the majors will be filled with roller coaster moments.

Said Manager Don Mattingly to The Times’ Jim Peltz on Wednesday: "There are going to be stretches where he's swinging the bat good, there are going to be stretches where he struggles a little bit. You got to be prepared to live with all that.

"If we can gain an inch a day over the course of the season with Dee, by the end of the year we've gained a lot."

Last year when Gordon was first called up in June, he also struggled. He hit .234 and ended up back at triple A. After he returned with a September call-up, however, he batted .372.

It was a terrific month, but only a month. Just like this bad stretch is only a couple of weeks. Gordon told Peltz he is far from panicking:

"I'm definitely not worried about [how often he has gotten on base so far]. That's going to get me nowhere. What are we, 12 games in? The only thing I'm worried about is winning. If we're winning, my numbers will be there."

His shaky defense isn't helping his cause, either. He can make the spectacular play, and then bobble a simple one. He has three of the Dodgers' five errors and could have been charged with more.

Gordon has delivered when he’s gotten on base. He’s eight for 10 in stolen-base attempts, and he was actually safe both times he was called out stealing. He’s second in steals in the majors to Miami’s Emilio Bonifacio.

All that game-changing, electric speed is there. For now, however, realizing it is going to take some serious patience.

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This is a test: Speedy Dee Gordon off to slow start

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