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Dodgers need Andre Ethier to snap out of his offensive funk

The All-Star right fielder, who signed a $85-million deal last week, has been struggling at the plate since the beginning of the month.

June 20, 2012|By Steve Dilbeck
  • Dodgers right fielder Andre Ethier, left, slides safely into third base as he avoids a tag by the Angels' Albert Callaspo during a game on June 13.
Dodgers right fielder Andre Ethier, left, slides safely into third base… (Patrick T. Fallon / Los Angeles…)

Half of the Dodgers’ two-headed offensive monster remains on the disabled list, and now the other is in a poorly timed slump.

The Dodgers can’t do anything about Matt Kemp’s sore hamstring but remain patient. They may have no other way to deal with Andre Ethier’s slump, either.

Ethier, the team’s new $85-million man, has been struggling at the plate for over two weeks. Even as he continues to lead the National League in RBIs (55), even after getting one of the Dodgers’ only two hits Tuesday.

Since June 3, Ethier is batting just .164 (9 for 55, with 16 strikeouts), with one home run and nine RBIs. The home run is the only one he’s hit in his last 95 at-bats.

During his 15-game slump, both his on-base percentage (.246) and slugging percentage (.255) have followed his batting average to the lower levels.

The Dodgers’ offense is built around Kemp and Ethier, and now they’re getting nothing out of one and precious little out of the other.

Over the last 21 games, the Dodgers are 10-11. They’ve been able to maintain both their 4½-game lead over the Giants and the major’s best record, but right now it feels more like they’re hanging on.

Ethier’s current dry spell can’t be assigned to his signing a huge, new contract extension. He was already struggling when he signed.

All players go through slumps during the course of a season, but with Kemp out, Ethier’s dry spell is leaving the Dodgers’ offense particularly vulnerable.

Either is hardly the only Dodger currently struggling – Jerry Hairston Jr. is 0 for 17, Tony Gwynn Jr. 2 for 20 and Juan Uribe 4 for 21 – but he is the lone truly dangerous bat currently in the lineup. Anyway, he should be.

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