Dodgers hit just enough to win

Ken­drick drives in all the runs as the team con­tin­ues to strug­gle at the plate.

Los Angeles Times - - SPORTS - By Dy­lan Her­nan­dez

The Dodgers re­main in first place in the Na­tional League West, but the ques­tion is still worth ask­ing: What hap­pened to their of­fense?

In their 3-1 victory Ari­zona Di­a­mond­backs at Dodger Sta­dium on Tues­day night, they were shut down for most of the night by a mid-level pitch­ing prospect named Rob­bie Ray (1-1). Their first run was scored on a sixth-in­ning home run by Howie Ken­drick, who had a two-run sin­gle in the eighth in­ning.

This kind of limited out­put has be­come typ­i­cal in re­cent weeks for the Dodgers, who have scored two runs or less in 13 of their last 24 games.

Vet­er­ans Adrian Gon­za­lez and Jimmy Rollins have de­scribed the three-plus week slum­ber as noth­ing more than part of the cycli­cal na­ture of a sea­son.

Manager Don Mat­tingly has won­dered aloud about the ef­fects of in­juries to key

play­ers. Tues­day was the first time in more than six weeks that Gon­za­lez, Ken­drick and Yasiel Puig were in the same lineup.

Dodgers bench coach Tim Wal­lach thought there might be some­thing to that, but wasn’t sure.

“Why we haven’t scored?” Wal­lach said. “I don’t know. I wish I could put my fin­ger on it.”

Through their first 35 games, the Dodgers av­er­aged 5.28 runs per game. Over their last 24 games, that fig­ure has dropped to 3.25.

“We just haven’t put a lot of hits to­gether,” Wal­lach said. “We’re still scor­ing a lot of our runs on home runs.”

The Dodgers have 77 home runs, the most in the NL. They have re­ceived power con­tri­bu­tions from un­ex­pected sources, in­clud­ing rookie cen­ter fielder Joc Ped­er­son (17 home runs), Alex Guer­rero (10), An­dre Ethier (eight) and Rollins (seven).

The Dodgers are bat­ting .239 over their last 24 games.

“We just have to do a bet­ter job of ex­tend­ing innings, tak­ing walks, base hits,” Wal­lach said. “And I think we will. I think that’s the kind of team we are.”

From that per­spec­tive, Wal­lach had to be en­cour­aged by what he saw in the sev­enth in­ning Tues­day.

Chris Heisey, who started in cen­ter field in place of Ped­er­son, drew a two-out walk against Ray.

Manager Chip Hale re­placed Ray with Ad­di­son Reed, who gave up a dou­ble to Puig that ad­vanced Heisey to third. With the score tied, 1-1, and first base open, Ari­zona in­ten­tion­ally walked Gon­za­lez to pitch to Ken­drick, who sin­gled to cen­ter field, driv­ing in two runs and mov­ing the Dodgers in front, 3-1.

“I think we’re go­ing to be fine,” Wal­lach said. “I’m not wor­ried. The length of our lineup is so good.”

Wal­lach said the coach­ing staff has talked about try­ing cre­ate of­fense by putting run­ners in mo­tion more of­ten. But Wal­lach said they will be se­lec­tive about it.

The of­fense, Wal­lach said, is built around Gon­za­lez.

“We’re go­ing to try things to help us to pro­duce runs the best way we can,” he said. “But we’re not go­ing to make stupid de­ci­sions. We don’t want to take the bat out of Gonzo’s hands. Ever.

“We’re not go­ing to ask Yasiel, if he’s hit­ting in the two-spot, to hit and run. We want him to be able to get a pitch to hit. Joc, we don’t want him run­ning into outs to say that we’re run­ning. If we do that and Yas doesn’t get a hit, they’re go­ing to put Gonzo on. They’re not go­ing to let him beat them.”

What­ever their of­fen­sive short­com­ings, the Dodgers haven’t lost more than three con­sec­u­tive games this sea­son. Wal­lach said that was a credit to the team’s pitch­ers, such as Car­los Frias, who held Ari­zona to one run over 62⁄ in

3 nings but didn’t get a de­ci­sion.

“Hit­ting is some­thing that you go in and out of,” Wal­lach said. “For us, if we pitch it and catch it like we’re sup­posed to, we’re go­ing to be in ev­ery game.”

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