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Tuesday, June 3, 2014
Rapid Reaction: White Sox 4, Dodgers 1

By Mark Saxon


LOS ANGELES -- The Los Angeles Dodgers are in the midst of a stretch in their schedule in which they should have been making up ground. Instead, they're drifting sideways and going nowhere.

The Dodgers haven't played a team with a winning record since May 14. After Tuesday's 4-1 loss to the Chicago White Sox, they are 9-9 in those games and have lost 3½ games in the standings.

How it happened: The Dodgers don't score at home much anyway and they're in a bit of a hitting rut, having scored three runs or fewer in five of their past seven games. That's not the right context for Dan Haren to thrive. The veteran right-hander has found a way to get into the sixth or seventh innings virtually every time out, but he's not the kind of pitcher who throws shutouts any more.

Chicago's powerful lineup connected for a couple of home runs off Haren, with slugger Jose Abreu hitting his 17th in only 46 games and his second in two games at Dodger Stadium.

Hits: Yasiel Puig was about 15 minutes late for pregame stretch and didn't seem upset about it. He ignored hitting coach Mark McGwire and conducted a TV interview, then went into the clubhouse before emerging as the team was taking batting practice.

But these days, Puig can do no wrong. With a flat effort from the rest of the lineup, Puig looked alive with a double, a single and a walk. He was player of the month for May but has kept it going through the early days of June. If you count reaching on an error Monday -- which you really shouldn't -- he has gotten on base in 35 straight games.

Misses: Moving down in the batting order hasn't done much for Adrian Gonzalez so far. Since Don Mattingly slid Puig into the No. 3 hole, Hanley Ramirez to cleanup and Gonzalez to fifth, the latter has gone 5-for-25 (.200) with only one extra-base hit, a double. Gonzalez had a couple of strikeouts against hard thrower Hector Noesi on Tuesday. Gonzalez is not a big strikeout guy, but that's five in two games.

Stat of the game: Going into Tuesday, opponents were batting .308 against Haren their first time through the lineup, .290 in their second time through and .222 in their third. True to form, Haren lasted through the sixth and Chicago went 1-for-7 in its past eight at-bats.

Up next: The Dodgers try to avoid losing their second series in a row to a sub-.500 opponent Wednesday night at 7:10. It's a good matchup of veteran pitchers, with the Dodgers using Josh Beckett (3-2, 2.52 ERA) two starts after his no-hitter and Chicago going with lefty John Danks (3-5, 4.66).