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Dodgers still searching for something resembling expected offense

April 07, 2013|By Steve Dilbeck
  • Matt Kemp gets called out on strikes by home plate umpire Gerry Davis during the Dodgers' 1-0 victory over Pittsburgh on Saturday night.
Matt Kemp gets called out on strikes by home plate umpire Gerry Davis during… (Victor Decolongon / Getty…)

You figure out if this is good or bad news: The Dodgers have started the season 3-2 and can’t hit a lick.

The pitching’s been so terrific, even if the team is batting .205, the Dodgers have a modest winning record.

Trouble is, four guys – Carl Crawford (.438), Mark Ellis (.375), Adrian Gonzalez (.313) and Andre Either (.278) – are pretty much responsible for the entirety of the offensive success.

Subtract those four, and all the other Dodgers are batting a combined .094.

“Obviously you can’t just sit here and say everything’s great,” said Manager Don Mattingly.

Not when Matt Kemp is 1 for 18. Not when starters Luis Cruz and Justin Sellers are a combined 0 for 30.

“The track-record guys you don’t really worry about,” Mattingly said. “I don’t worry about Matt, because I know Matt is going to hit.

“Cruz is a guy who doesn’t have quite the same track record, so you worry about him a little bit. ... I don’t want his confidence going away, where he just beats himself up to the point where he really gets down on himself. I’ll be careful with him a little bit.”

Cruz, 28, is the player who seemingly came out of nowhere to hit .297 with six homers and 40 RBI in 283 at-bats last season. He has been given the starting third base job, but will be watched carefully.

“I just feel a little bit different, a little jumpy, not selective,” Cruz said. “It’s part of the game. This is the first time I go 0 for six games. I’ll be fine.”

Sellers was unexpectedly brought back from the minors the final week of spring training after the Dodgers reexamined how to replace injured shortstop Hanley Ramirez. He is primarily here for his glove, but has to hit some.

“Sells I don’t really worry about that much, because I just know Sells,” Mattingly said. “I think he’s probably a little bit better about putting things behind him. Sells has actually had some pretty decent at-bats lately. I liked some of his swings. We know we don’t get a whole lot, we know why he’s out there, but we’re still going to get more than this. We know that.”

The Dodgers have not scored more than four runs in any of their first five games. They are six for 46 with runners in scoring position.

“We’re not really swinging the bats great yet, but I know we will,” Mattingly said. “But it’s good to be getting some wins.”

Which, I guess, is the good news.

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