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T.J. Simers

Give him an assist on UCLA, but Dodgers may be beyond his help

Nebraska looked overconfident Saturday in loss to Bruins, and Page 2 wants some credit for that. But after losing again to Giants, punchless Dodgers look hopeless.

September 10, 2012|T.J. Simers

SAN FRANCISCO — It's not like I'm going to miss the Dodgers scoring a run, so I'd like to take a moment here to express how disappointed I am with my fellow UCLA supporters.

Good for Jim Mora and he's great and all that. I've known him for more than 25 years, always thought he'd make a great coach but felt he was the wrong choice for UCLA.

I know how hard it is to win at UCLA, documenting the travails of Bob Toledo, Karl Dorrell and Rick Neuheisel. I wouldn't wish such a losing proposition on the worst of coaches and certainly not on a good guy like Mora.

But he is the coach at UCLA, so I do what I can for him, going to Rice, and who goes to that sweat box for a football game?

Now here's where I'm disappointed with you people.

I go to Rice to set up Nebraska for failure, and it's like you have no idea.

At the risk of being unpopular for a week in Los Angeles, and I'm just unselfish like that, I have the Huskers thinking they are coming to UCLA to play a high school team.

You forget — I lived with those people in Nebraska and I know how they think.

A few years back when USC went to Lincoln, I spent the entire week in the middle of nowhere with a different family each day. I learned they like their cows and their women, but really love their Cornhuskers.

They have nothing else in their lives so they take a real interest in Nebraska's opponent each week, knowing each Saturday's game will determine whether they are happy or not.

So I had Nebraska thinking its farm boys were going to clobber our little high school team from Westwood, the Cornhuskers obviously overconfident.

For all we know that was the difference, although I don't want to make a big deal out of it, preferring that the credit go to Mora.

::

Now as for making winners out of the Dogs, let me just say this: Only 163 days or so until pitchers and catchers report for spring training.

What a colossal disappointment. The Dogs are 27-27 since the All-Star break, and this is a team that was once 17 games above .500 with a dreadful lineup.

The addition of Hanley Ramirez and others should have energized this group, but in the last 14 important games they are 5-9.

They have averaged 2.9 runs a game in that time, and that includes 10 in a game against Colorado that they hung on to win.

Something is terribly wrong with this team. And it goes beyond the loss of Matt Kemp, who hadn't been hitting, and Clayton Kershaw, who had two losses and a no-decision in a four-start stretch before being scratched Sunday.

It's the biggest game of the year to date and the Dodgers swoon, losing 4-0 here Sunday night.

"So how do you explain a team that can't hit?"

"What are you asking me?" Manager Don Mattingly says after the game. "Ask me a question about the game; don't ask me to explain about a team that can't hit."

Who better than the manager, the team's former hitting coach, to ask?

"I don't know how to answer the fact that we haven't been able to do it yet," Mattingly says, and I guess that's pretty obvious. "The fact these guys will hit is not even a question to me."

Well, that's something to look forward to next season.

How is anyone supposed to think the Dodgers have it in them to catch the Giants after hitting .043 against San Francisco with runners in scoring position?

Was the pressure too much for the guys?

How about the Cardinals, who come to town this week, a wild card now the prize, but is there any reason to get excited?

The Dodgers will have to show something, and now, but then there's the deflating fact the Cardinals still have six freebies left against the Astros.

"We're just not producing," Adrian Gonzalez says, stating the obvious after going two for 12 against the Giants.

Any idea why?

"Just not producing," Gonzalez says.

But no explanation as to why?

"Just going to keep working," Gonzalez says.

So is this team running out of time?

"Just going to keep working," Gonzalez says, the Dogs as lackluster in the clubhouse these days as they are on the field.

What's going on here? The Giants aren't that good, losing Melky Cabrera while the Dodgers were spending hundreds of millions to upgrade.

"I see the same lefties getting us out all the time," Mattingly says. "We're getting beat by [Barry] Zito, getting beat by [Jeff] Francis, by [Eric] Stults, by another soft-toss guy in San Diego that I can't remember his name. . . . It's all the same style guy we continue to have trouble with.

"We've got to figure out how to make adjustments toward those kinds of guys. They've been able to do it to us every time without us having any kind of answer. We can't keep doing the same things and keep getting the same results."

What a great idea. Has anyone maybe mentioned this to the players? Or, are the athletes just not listening?

"You have to make adjustments," Mattingly says. "Each guy basically has to make adjustments."

Is that his way of saying the athletes aren't listening?

What's the answer here?

"That's the frustrating part; that's the part that makes you want to go bang your head against the wall," says Andre Ethier, who was one for 10 in this series. "I don't know if it's pressing too hard or not caring enough.

"Maybe somebody needs to just come on and give us a good shake or something."

I'm going to Arizona on Tuesday and will do so, but shaking the dead seems like such a waste of time.

t.j.simers@latimes.com

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