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The Obvious, Child
2003-05-29 08:57
by Jon Weisman

Talk about missing the forest for the trees. Scratch that - talk about missing the forest and the trees.

In his report on Wednesday's 6-0 Dodger loss to Colorado, Mike DiGiovanna of the Times spent two paragraphs talking about the Dodger hitting.

He also spent three paragraphs talking about an injury to Brian Jordan, but the rest of his article focuses on the sudden problems of Darren Dreifort and the Dodger starting rotation.

At one point, DiGiovanna writes:

"The Dodgers, meanwhile, are wondering what happened to that great rotation. After combining for a 10-0 record and 1.63 ERA during the 10-game win streak, Kazuhisa Ishii and Dreifort have combined to give up 11 runs, nine earned, and 12 hits in eight innings of the last two games for a 10.13 ERA.

Something tells me that the Dodgers may be wondering a lot of things, but are pretty clear that what happened to their great rotation is Coors Field.

There is honestly no news to report about the Dodger pitching over the past two days, unless you thought the staff was immortal.

--Playing in Denver caused Ishii to give up more extra base hits than usual and Fred McGriff to miss more easy throws from third than usual. That's not news.

--Dreifort's knee can still bother him, and he couldn't get his pitches to land where he wanted in the mile-high altitude. That's not news.

The comments in this space have been as tough on Dodger pitching as any commentary around. But for the Dodgers to allow 11 earned runs in two games in Colorado - not really a big deal. The Rockies have been shut out in 11 out of 16 innings in the series.

On the other hand, the Dodgers have scored three runs and have failed to get an extra-base hit in 18 innings in Coors Field.

That's news, folks - even for the worst-hitting team in the majors. That's the story. Was it too obvious to see, or not obvious enough?

The results of the past two games are not cause for despair, but they are cause for disappointment. A reporter might want to explore why the Dodgers have generated no power this week at baseball's DWP.

It's been at least a couple of weeks since we talked about the ongoing lack of home runs, right? Here's a refresher.

The Dodgers are on pace to hit 100 home runs this year. Last year, they hit 155.

They have the same players at every position except first base and second base, where Eric Karros and Mark Grudzielanek combined to hit 22 home runs in 2002. The combination of McGriff and Alex Cora figures to match that, even if Cora hits none.

The only other noteworthy change is the loss of reserve Marquis Grissom's 17 home runs.

Jordan isn't hitting home runs. Shawn Green isn't hitting home runs. Adrian Beltre isn't hitting home runs.

This weakness is not the Dodgers' only one, nor does it negate their obvious strengths. Nevertheless, an overall dropoff like this demands an examination.

Is it only a matter of time before they start to hit them out? Or is a different philosophy at the plate needed? Or have they just completely lost their ability to reach the seats?

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