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It's July 18, will the real Andre Ethier please stand up?

July 18, 2011 |  5:11 am

On the list of Dodgers’ problems this year it’s number … OK, it’s way down the list. Really, way down.

Which doesn’t mean it isn’t a problem.

Andre Ethier is an All-Star. He bats third in the Dodgers’ lineup, typically reserved for a team’s best hitter. He’s batting .300.

And currently he is in a miserable slump, admittedly something almost every hitter goes through. He has three hits in his last 35 at-bats, though two were home runs in the same game. He just went 0 for 12 in the three-game series in Arizona, where normally he can barely be contained.

Yet all season long -- even during his 30-game hitting streak -- he has been something of Ethier-lite. Power is seldom part of his game.

If he is still hitting an even .300, his slugging percentage is down to .447, which would be a career low. Those two home runs on July 10 gave him nine on the year. Last season, he had nine home runs by May 9.

Understand, he hasn’t been miserable. He’s still second on the team in home runs and RBIs (44), it’s just that he’s a distant second behind the numbers Matt Kemp (24, 72) is putting up.

And on a team that desperately struggles to score, that’s too large a disparity. Particularly when the team’s third-best hitter is unidentifiable.

The Dodgers need Ethier to get it going. And heading into his final year of arbitration and interested in a long-term contract, so does Ethier.


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Photo: Dodgers right fielder Andre Ethier hits a home run against the San Diego Padres on July 10. Credit: Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times