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Sunday, April 27, 2014
Dodgers continue to lack consistent offense

By Anthony Witrado | Special to ESPNLosAngeles.com

LOS ANGELES -- Yes, they are expensive. Yes, they are star-studded. Yes, they boast one of the most intimidating lineups in all of baseball when they are fully staffed.

And yes, the heralded Los Angeles Dodgers are struggling to find consistent offense. This is not what Guggenheim Baseball Management paid for.

The Dodgers have lost eight of their past 13 games -- 10 of those at home -- after looking lethargic in a 6-1 loss to the Colorado Rockies on Sunday at Dodger Stadium. It was the team’s third dropped series in its past four and yet another game in which the offense was absent.

In that stretch, the Dodgers have scored two or fewer runs seven times.

"We’ll go through periods like this, but as long as we continue to work and not be satisfied with what’s going on, I feel like we’ll be OK," manager Don Mattingly said. "I’m not willing to think this is the way it’s going to be all year long after [26] games."

With the exception of Hyun-Jin Ryu’s collapse Sunday and some bullpen blunders, the pitching has been decent during that stretch, with a 2.80 ERA going into the rubber game against the Rockies. But including Sunday’s one-run embarrassment against a team near MLB’s cellar when it comes to staff ERA -- the Rockies entered Sunday with the second-worst rotational ERA (4.41) in the National League -- the Dodgers’ offense has scored 40 runs in its past 13 games, an average of barely more than three per game.

Since scoring 22 runs and hitting five home runs in three games in Arizona against the Diamondbacks, the worst pitching staff in the majors, the offense has posted a .290 on-base percentage.

In that time, the Dodgers have been held down by the Rockies and their pretty-bad pitching staff and the Philadelphia Phillies, who have the second-worst overall ERA in the league and still haven’t gotten a win from a starter other than Cliff Lee since April 4. So it’s not like they were getting shutdown by clubs with dominant arms.

The Dodgers travel to the Minnesota Twins starting Tuesday, and the Twins went into Sunday with the third-worst overall ERA in the majors and second-worst rotation.

"Since Arizona, we have been an offense that just hasn’t been that good," Mattingly said Saturday.

"You’re going to get stretches where you’re not good for a period of time," Mattingly added. "Then, the next thing you know, you bounce out of it and you’re on a roll for two weeks and everybody is talking about how great your offense is."

The baffling part is with all the hired guns in the lineup, the Dodgers don’t look like an attack prone to team-wide slumps. That is especially true when you consider they have six regulars with an OPS above .800. With Dee Gordon properly setting the table for names such as Yasiel Puig, Hanley Ramirez, Matt Kemp, Adrian Gonzalez and Andre Ethier, runs should come in bunches and on a regular basis.

But if it weren’t for Gordon and Gonzalez, who has homered in three of his past four games and has 22 RBIs and a league-leading 64 total bases, the offense would look even worse.

And now, if Ramirez is rendered ineffective because of the bruised thumb that forced him out of Saturday’s game, the task of breaking out becomes more daunting.