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Ethier picking up slack in Kemp's absence

Ethier picking up slack in Kemp's absence

Ethier picking up slack in Kemp's absence
DENVER -- Andre Ethier has been a model of consistency this season, and his productive bat in the middle of the Dodgers lineup has helped the club stay afloat with Matt Kemp out of action.

Ethier boasts a league-best 46 RBIs, and added a pair in Saturday's 6-2 win over the Rockies. He is hitting .327, and his nine home runs trail only Kemp on the Dodgers.

"Lately, it's kind of been one [RBI] at a time, and it's been with hits," manager Don Mattingly said. "A lot of times you'll see guys are having big days, having a four- or five-ribby day, but he's kind of been that guy there for us every day, getting the hit when we need it, getting the run, the RBI in those spots. He's kind of done it one at a time, one game at a time. It hasn't been a big explosion of a week where he drives in 15 or something."

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Ethier credits his success to a consistent approach, saying he hasn't changed his day-to-day game plan, but that he has heeded Mattingly's advice to avoid trying too hard to fill the void Kemp and his .355 average left in the lineup.

"He doesn't want me to swing for the fence or just do one thing," Ethier said of Mattingly's advice. "He wants me to go up there and drive in the runs. If there's a guy on second base, you can drive in the run just as well hitting a single in the hole as you can trying to drive a ball off the wall."

That approach also helps Ethier keep his focus on using the whole field, making it harder for pitchers to succeed with a narrow attack against him.

"They're still going to go after him, but [he's going to be pitched to] a little differently," Mattingly said. "He can hit anything they throw, pretty much. When he uses the whole field he's such a good hitter."

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