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08/09/12 3:15 AM ET

Inconsistency has Mattingly searching for answers

LOS ANGELES -- It's getting to the point where the Dodgers are becoming consistent at being inconsistent, and manager Don Mattingly doesn't have a reason for why that is.

In his 14 years as a player and two as a manager, Mattingly said he hasn't seen anything like this.

"It's been a little different, really," Mattingly said. "It feels like we've been a consistent club that gets ready to play and we pretty much have had consistent pitching for the most part. When you get that, you stay a little more consistent. The fact that we have put three [wins] here and then lose three and then win three is a little bit ... I don't know how to answer it."

Mattingly added he doesn't know if there is an answer and that it has been befuddling for him to watch.

After the All-Star break, the Dodgers went 2-4 at home against the Padres and Phillies. The team then showed promise sweeping the Mets in New York before losing three out of four in St. Louis.

Things were looking up again when the Dodgers swept rival San Francisco on the road, but then they lost three in a row to the D-backs at Dodger Stadium.

Sweeping the Cubs over the weekend kept the team on pace with the Giants, but they lost the first two games to the last-place Rockies entering Wednesday's series finale.

Things don't get easier for the Dodgers, who embark on a 10-game road trip starting Friday. They get three against the reeling Marlins, but then have to travel to Atlanta and Pittsburgh to take on two of the National League's best.

"We've got a little bit of a rough trip coming, a big one," Mattingly said.

Ethier looking to find his early-season form

LOS ANGELES -- Through the first two months of the season, Andre Ethier was one of the top run producers in all of baseball. When the calendar turned to to June, he was one among the lead leaders in RBIs with 44 and home runs with nine.

That is far from the case over the past couple of months. Ethier has recorded just 17 RBIs and one home run in 140 at-bats since hitting a grand slam in the second inning against the Mariners on June 10.

He had a short stint on the disabled list at the end of June because of a strained left oblique, but otherwise he has been the team's everyday right fielder. His only home run since returning from the DL came in his second game back on July 14.

Despite being out of the lineup on Tuesday, Ethier said he was fine and he said the same thing when he had a rare two-RBI day on Sunday against the Cubs.

Manager Don Mattingly said he isn't worried, since he is most concerned with Ethier being a tough out in the middle of the order and using the entire field. However, Ethier is hitting .158 so far in August (3-for-19 with no runs and two RBIs).

"To me, it's a matter of Dre getting good pitches to hit and just hitting," Mattingly said.

Worth noting

• Tony Gwynn Jr. accepted his assignment to the Triple-A Albuquerque Isotopes on Wednesday. The veteran outfielder was designated for assignment when the Dodgers called up Jerry Sands earlier this week.

• The Dodgers will option Jerry Sands to Triple-A Albuquerque to make room for infielder Adam Kennedy, who has been on the disabled list with a right groin strain.

Alex Angert is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.