LOS ANGELES -- Even though the Dodgers still lead the National League in runs scored, the offense has slowed down considerably over the past eight games. The Dodgers have scored two runs or fewer in six of those eight games, and have scored just two runs against the past four starters they've faced. But manager Joe Torre said before Friday's game that he thinks the offensive slump is just part of the peaks and valleys a team experiences over the course of a season.More
"I think you go through cycles like that," Torre said. "Over the course of the year, you'll go through the flats and the highs, but you have to just keep working at it." The one positive is that the Dodgers have still found ways to win, as they are 4-4 over their past eight games despite their offensive struggles. "We're pretty fortunate at this point in time for the lack of offense we've had," Torre said. The Dodgers rely on getting on base to score their runs, as they rank first in the National League in on-base percentage, but fourth-to-last in the Majors in home runs. Torre, though, doesn't think the Dodgers have been too passive by taking too many first-pitch strikes during their offensive funk. "We don't take [pitches]," Torre said. "We look for what we want to hit, and then if it's not there, we take. If a pitcher's wild, we'll make him throw a strike. But I think there's no question that pitchers are going to make us hit the ball, because we don't have a lot of power." Phillies starter Cole Hamels, who threw a four-hit shutout against the Dodgers on Thursday, hinted after the game that Los Angeles' lineup isn't quite the same without Manny Ramirez. Torre agreed with that assertion, but also pointed out that the offense has still done fine without Ramirez. "There's no question that Manny gives you more of a threat," Torre said. "And I've said it many times before, that he makes everyone else around him better. But again, we don't have him, so there's not much you can do." For now, Torre said the players are going to keep the same approach they had before the slump, and hopefully it will go away soon. "Sometimes you get a little overanxious, getting out of what you do," Torre said. "When you don't score runs, sometimes guys try to do too much. But I know we haven't changed anything. Our guys are going to hit and they're going to through their slumps."
Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less