Hudson given night off for Dodgers
Second baseman has just one RBI in past two weeks
LOS ANGELES -- If Joe Torre sat every slumping Dodgers regular, he'd have trouble fielding a team, even with the expanded September roster.
On Wednesday night, he gave third baseman Casey Blake and his 3-for-30 bat the night off. On Thursday night, it was second baseman Orlando Hudson who, despite a .291 average, had the kind of 0-for-3 on Wednesday night that convinced his manager to start Ronnie Belliard at second base instead.
"I think he's tired," Torre said of Hudson, who continues to get his hits but has only one RBI in the past two weeks. "He's dragging, sort of cheating to get his bat going. He doesn't agree with me. I told him we'll take it a day at a time."
Torre was right about Hudson not agreeing.
"I don't think I'll say anything," he said.
Torre also did not start Hudson on Monday night, meaning the former D-back missed two of four starts against his old team. Torre said he wanted to give Hudson back-to-back games off, but Hudson was 3-for-6 with two homers lifetime against Arizona's Tuesday night starter, Yusmeiro Petit. Hudson started that game and went 2-for-3 off Petit.
"I waffled," said Torre.
The recent problem with the Dodgers' offense is that there isn't just one or two regulars slumping -- there's a bunch. Shortstop and leadoff man Rafael Furcal hit .218 in August, has a .300 on-base percentage since the All-Star break and one stolen base since July 3. Catcher Russell Martin has seven RBIs in the past five weeks, four on one swing. First baseman James Loney has two homers since the All-Star break and none at Dodger Stadium in more than a year.
Manny Ramirez had the club's only RBI Wednesday night on a single to center field. But his power and production numbers are down dramatically since returning from a 50-game suspension for violating the Major League Baseball drug policy. Since coming back, he's hit nearly 90 points lower than he did before he left, his on-base percentage is down more than 100 points and his slugging percentage down more than 200 points.
And the Dodgers' offense as a unit has been held to two runs or fewer in 11 of the past 24 games.
Outfielders Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier have done the heavy lifting offensively in the second half. Kemp is hitting .302 with 12 homers and 37 RBIs since the All-Star break. Ethier is hitting .339 with nine homers and 32 RBIs since the break.
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.