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There's something missing from the Dodgers these days -- offense

June 26, 2012|By Steve Dilbeck
  • James Loney hits against the San Diego Padres on May 17.
James Loney hits against the San Diego Padres on May 17. (Denis Poroy / Getty Images )

It’s an epidemic. Apparently a disease more contagious than the measles, and for the Dodgers, plenty more deadly.

The Dodgers cannot hit. They cannot score. They currently cannot muster much that resembles an actual offensive attack.

They are being shut down by the likes of Barry Zito, whose heyday was 10 years ago. In their last seven games, they’ve averaged 1.9 runs per game. Not too coincidentally, they lost six of them.

There is no one on the team hitting well right now, and most are in a slump of some degree.

Career minor-leaguer Elian Herrera, who was such a marvelous surprise, has returned to Earth. No one had a right to expect him to keeping hitting .300, but now he’s in a 2-for-24 skid.

James Loney is shrinking before our eyes and has had zero hits in his last 17 at-bats. Juan Uribe, adrift in his own world, has one hit in his last 18 at-bats.

Even A.J. Ellishas calmed down with four hits in his last 26 at-bats. Andre Ethier, despite his nice weekend in Anaheim, has one home run in his last 32 games. He hasn’t had an RBI since June 13. And why would anyone pitch to him in this lineup?

So despite getting strong pitching most nights, the Dodgers are reeling like they haven’t all season, and at a time when the Giants and Diamondbacks are making a move.

The Dodgers’ lead in the National League West is in danger of evaporating before the All-Star break. Heck, before the end of the week. The Diamondbacks are now five games back, the Giants only two.

Players in the clubhouse now whisper about new ownership making a deal before that July 31 non-waiver trading deadline, an admission – however accurate – that they don’t have enough in there to get it done.

Matt Kemp would be a pretty nice addition, but is not expected back until after the All-Star break. And in truth, it is unreasonable to expect that he’ll return after so much time off and just pick up where he was in April. Mark Ellis could be back sooner, and the Dodgers have certainly missed him, but offensively he is more a complementary player.

Maybe the Dodgers were never as good a hitting team as they appeared when they were 17 games over .500 – you know, way back on June 17 – but neither can they be as poor a hitting team as they currently appear. Neither could the Padres.

The Dodgers still have the best record in the NL, though it feels more tenuous by the hour. They can’t be sitting back waiting for some new superstar to walk into the clubhouse door and play savior. They have to get it done with what they have. Have to start small and build from there. Or the epidemic could be a killer.

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