It's July 18, will the real Andre Ethier please stand up?
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.
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.
-- Steve Dilbeck
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