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Runs hard to come by for Dodgers

Runs hard to come by for Dodgers

PHILADELPHIA -- They were two of the National League's best offenses during the regular season, but while the Phillies have continued pounding the ball in October, things have dried up for the Dodgers.

Los Angeles has been held to 21 runs in six games in the playoffs thus far, including a total of two over the past two games. An 11-0 shutout in Game 3 of the National League Championship Series brought the problem to the forefront, but the Dodgers really haven't been raking for a while. They've scored more than five runs once since Sept. 26, that in an 8-6 loss in Game 1 of the NLCS.

The Dodgers know they can score runs. Now they need to show it.

"It can change," said catcher Russell Martin, who is 4-for-18 with three walks in the playoffs. "You can get shut out one night and the next night you can score 11 runs, kind of like the Phillies did. But we know we have a good offense. We've got good balance all the way through our lineup. The key is just to go out there, keep battling and hopefully catch fire soon."

In the Division Series against St. Louis, the Dodgers had what may be the most frustrating kind of offensive issue. They were getting runners on base, but they couldn't get them home. In the last two games of the NLCS, they haven't even gotten runners on. Still, they're 9-for-48 with men in scoring position in the playoffs. With or without quality pitching, that's not likely to be good enough to win a lot of games.

In fairness, Los Angeles ran into Cliff Lee, a Cy Young winner who had his good stuff going on Sunday night. Even with top-quality at-bats, the Dodgers might not have done much. But this isn't a one-game issue, it's something that's been going on awhile. And it's something that needs to be corrected.

The task may get a bit easier in Game 4, when Lee gives way to Joe Blanton. But Pedro Martinez didn't look like any kind of world-beater coming into his Game 2 start, and he threw a gem at the Dodgers.

NL Championship Series
Gm. 1 PHI 8, LAD 6 Wrap Video
Gm. 2 LAD 2, PHI 1 Wrap Video
Gm. 3 PHI 11, LAD 0 Wrap Video
Gm. 4 PHI 5, LAD 4 Wrap Video
Gm. 5 PHI 10, LAD 4 Wrap Video

Martinez's résumé makes it tempting to put him in a class with Lee, but he hasn't been that caliber of pitcher for a few years now. He pitched beautifully, but again, it's hard to imagine there wasn't more there for the Dodgers on offense.

"We faced two tough pitchers, and they got the best of us the last two games," Matt Kemp said. "We won one of those games, and today we just didn't have it. They came out and really outhit us."

Kemp has been emblematic of the struggles. Since a critical home run against Chris Carpenter in Game 1 of the Division Series, he's gone quiet. He's 1-for-14 with runners on base since that homer, and overall he's 5-for-26 (.192) with no walks and 12 strikeouts in the playoffs.

Typically one of the Dodgers' most dynamic offensive players, Kemp has not lived up to expectations in October. He acknowledges it -- and doesn't have any more of an answer than anyone else does.

"I'm not hitting the ball that well," Kemp said. "I'm just going out there playing hard, and when I get hits, I get hits."

Matthew Leach is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

{"content":["NLCS" ] }
{"content":["NLCS" ] }