DODGERS NOTEBOOK: LOSSES SHINE SPOTLIGHT ON SLOW STARTS.Byline: Steve Dilbeck Staff Writer
When the Dodgers got off to their nice 7-3 start, it was easy to overlook that a third of their lineup was struggling to keep pace.
Lose a couple, though, and those poor early-season numbers have a way of jumping out.
Batting averages such as these: Eric Karros
Todd made his major league debut with the New York Mets on May 18, 1990 when he was only 20 years old. (.167) and Mark Grudzielanek Mark James Grudzielanek (born June 30, 1970 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin) is a second baseman in Major League Baseball who currently plays for the Kansas City Royals. Previously, Grudzielanek played with the Montreal Expos (1995-1998), Los Angeles Dodgers (1998-2002), Chicago Cubs (.176).
Karros started against the Reds on Sunday, but Dodgers manager Davey Johnson
Karros, a notoriously slow starter, went 0 for 3 in the Dodgers 5-3 loss, and now has one hit in his 12 at-bats since missing a game with a strained lower back.
``My back is great,'' Karros said. `I don't pressure myself. My job is to drive in runs.
``We didn't get a hit with runners in scoring position In the sport of baseball, a baserunner is said to be in scoring position when he is on second or third base. The distinction between being on first base and second or third base is that a runner on first can usually only score if the batter hits an extra base hit, while a runner on . We just didn't do it.''
Johnson said he doesn't think Karros' back problems are a factor in his recent troubles.
``Eric is struggling a little bit,'' Johnson said. ``He's pressing a little. But he's a grinder Grinder
A slang term for a person who works in the investment industry and makes small amounts of money at a time on small investments, over and over again.
Notes: , so he's going to find a way to get through it.''
--Grudzielanek sits: Johnson tried a different approach with Grudzielanek's weak start, giving him the day off. Not that he was thrilled.
``I don't welcome it at all,'' Grudzielanek said. ``I leave it up to the skip, but I like to be in there. I don't feel comfortable on the bench.''
But Grudzielanek has just three hits in his past 35 at-bats.
``I always start slow, but not this slow,'' Grudzielanek said. ``It's some of my worst stretches ever.
``I'll get through it. I always do.''
--Park improved: Johnson said Park's outing Sunday - seven innings, three runs (two earned), four hits, three walks, four strikeouts - was what the Dodgers are hoping for.
It was the longest outing of the year for a Dodgers starter.
``It was a very strong effort,'' Johnson said. ``His best outing so far.'' Park gave up a two-run homer to Michael Tucker in the fourth.
``It could have been better,'' Park said. ``Today, a two-run homer was too much.''
--Tidbits: Johnson said RHP rhp
rated horsepower Antonio Osuna Antonio Pedro Osuna (born April 12, 1973 in Sinaloa, Mexico) is a former major league relief pitcher. He batted right and threw right. Antonio weighs 225 pounds and is 5 feet 10 inches tall. , recovering from September elbow surgery, is getting close to returning. He said Osuna could pitch as many as five innings tonight for Single-A San Bernardino San Bernardino, city, United States
San Bernardino (săn bûr'nədē`nō), city (1990 pop. 164,164), seat of San Bernardino co., S Calif., at the foot of the San Bernardino Mts.; inc. 1854. , before next pitching at Triple-A Albuquerque. . . . Counting his last six games from last season, Sheffield has hit in 18 consecutive, matching his personal best set in 1992 when he won a batting crown for the Padres. . . . Catcher Chad Kreuter walked a career-high four times. . . . The Dodgers had their second sellout in three games, averaging 52,332.
DODGERS VS. HOUSTON
Time: 7:10 p.m. at Dodger Stadium.
TV/Radio: Fox Sports Net 2; XTRA-AM (1150), KWKW-AM (1330 Spanish).
Matchup: This is the first of a three-game series to close out the brief opening homestand. Darren Dreifort (0-1, 2.70 ERA) was winning his second start in San Francisco when it was suspended because of rain. He'll be opposed by Octavio Dotel (0-1, 5.25), the prospect acquired from the Mets in the Mike Hampton trade.
- Steve Dilbeck
Box: Dodgers vs. Houston (see text)