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08/25/08 8:11 PM ET
Torre tries to shake up offense
Manager allows Dodgers to show up one hour before gametime
By Michael Schwartz / MLB.com
PHILADELPHIA -- Looking for a way to shake the Dodgers out of a losing streak that has reached six losses in eight games, manager Joe Torre told his players they did not need to show up at Citizens Bank Park until 6 p.m. ET for Monday's 7:05 p.m. start against the Phillies. That put the players on their own to prepare for the game. "It's just something different," Torre said. "They were very drained last night, and I sensed that when we went in. I just said, 'We'll get it straightened out. Forget about all the ritual tomorrow night, come in at 6 and get ready to play the game.' "We're not following any protocol tonight, just loosy goosy. ... You can't do anything about yesterday, so just move on." Although the bullpen was unable to preserve a lead in Sunday's defeat, and the starting pitchers struggled in the first two losses of this four-game series in Philadelphia, the offense has been the main reason for Los Angeles' struggles of late. The Dodgers scored an average of 2.3 runs per game in six contests last week, never scoring more than three. One explanation for the dropoff of an offense that had averaged 4.8 runs per game in the first 16 days of August comes in the form of a power outage experienced by Manny Ramirez. Ramirez batted .424 with six homers, 19 RBIs, three doubles and eight multi-hit games in his first 16 games wearing Dodger Blue. However, in the last week, he has hit .250 with no extra-base hits, RBIs or multi-hit games. Torre said the difference for Ramirez is the fact he has not been hitting with as many men on base as he did in his first couple weeks as a Dodger. "That gives the pitcher the free pass to ... pitch him tight," Torre said. "If you have a couple men on base, they have to give him more strikes to hit. I think he's getting frustrated about it, there's no question, but again, there's not much we can do about it except keep going at it and just hope that we can gain a little more patience." Torre also gave Nomar Garciaparra a day off on Monday, starting Angel Berroa at shortstop instead. Garciaparra is just 1-for-12 in his career against Phillies starter Brett Myers, and Torre felt it was just time to give him a day. Garciaparra has struggled since returning from a sprained MCL in his left knee on Aug. 12, hitting .167 with one homer and two RBIs while starting 11 of 12 games at short. "He's been a good soldier," Torre said. "He's gone out there getting ready to play, and I thought last night he was looking a little like he was dragging a little bit."
Michael Schwartz is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.