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Dodgers Dugout: All these years, and they still can’t hit lefties

Chase Utley slides home past Cubs reliever Hector Rondon as he scores from first base on a throwing error.
(Matt Marton / AP)
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Hi, and welcome to another edition of Dodgers Dugout. My name is Houston Mitchell, and if you see a 6-foot tall bunny in your front yard Sunday morning, go out and ask him if he can hit left-handers.

Left out again

After starting off the season 3-1, the Dodgers hit the road for six games, and the come back home with a 5-5 record. What happened? Let’s look at the opposing pitcher to get the decision in each win:

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Dodgers 10, Colorado 6. Decision: Tyler Anderson (left-handed)

Dodgers 2, Chicago 0. Decision: John Lackey (right-handed)

Each loss:

Colorado 2, Dodgers 1. Decision: Kyle Freeland (left-handed)

Colorado 4, Dodgers 2. Decision: Mike Dunn (left-handed)

Chicago 3, Dodgers 2. Decision: Wade Davis (right-handed. Game was started by a left-hander, Jon Lester).

Chicago 2, Dodgers 0. Decision: Brett Anderson (left-handed).

Basically, the Dodgers went 1-4 against lefties in the series. They got shut down by Brett Anderson. Yeah, the former Dodger.

For the season, the Dodgers numbers against righties are .260/.374/.463. Against lefties, .211/.293/.320.

How is this still a problem? I’d like to say it is still early, so you can’t read much into it, but the Dodgers haven’t hit left-handers well for two or three seasons. They tried to address it by bringing in Logan Forsythe (who is hitting .353 against lefties this season) and Franklin Gutierrez (.250). But it looks like it will continue to be a problem.

I wonder if the Brewers would still be up for trading Ryan Braun. His career slash numbers versus lefties: .336/.404/.625

Chase Utley is the man

With the Dodgers leading the Cubs, 1-0 on Wednesday, Chase Utley was on first base with two out and Andrew Toles at the plate. The count was full, so Utley started running when the pitch was delivered. Toles swung and missed but the ball got away from the catcher. Instead of assuming the out, Utley continued running hard, and was able to score from first when the throw got past the first baseman. A lot of runners would have been jogging in that situation, but not Utley. And that is why he is on the team. A young player must find it hard to be lackadaisical when the oldest man on the team hustles on every play.

You can watch the play here.

This isn’t good

The Nos. 5 and 6 hitters on the Dodgers are hitting a combined .103 this season (seven for 68).

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Next series

Friday, 7 p.m. PDT, Dodgers (Clayton Kershaw) vs. Arizona (Zack Greinke)

Saturday, 6 p.m. PDT, Dodgers (Kenta Maeda) vs. Arizona (Patrick Corbin)

Sunday, 1 p.m. PDT, Dodgers (TBA) vs. Arizona (Taijuan Walker). This game will be on KTLA Channel 5 in Los Angeles.

KTLA games

There will be seven more games on KTLA this season:

April 16, 1 p.m., vs. Arizona

April 18, 6:30 p.m., vs. Colorado

April 19, 7 p.m., vs. Colorado

April 23, 1 p.m., at Arizona

April 30, 1 p.m., Philadelphia

May 3, 6 p.m., vs. San Francisco

May 7, 1 p.m., at San Diego

Ask Ross Porter

Jack Garbe asks: What is your opinion, Ross, of the quality start and pitch count in baseball?

Ross: They began counting quality starts in 1985. A quality start is when a starting pitcher completes six innings while giving up three earned runs. So a quality start is considered an achievement although it would also mean the pitcher allowed 4 1/2 runs per nine innings. Tell that to Mickey Lolich who pitched 376 innings in 1971, averaged 8 1/3 innings a game and registered 29 complete games. Farther back, Bob Feller turned in 371 innings in 1946, averaged 8 2/3 innings and made 42 starts. No one has pitched more than 300 innings since Steve Carlton in 1980, and no active pitcher is among the top 125 all-time when it comes to innings pitched in a career.

My broadcast colleague for 5 1/2 years, Hall of Famer Don Drysdale, pitched in 3,400 innings over 14 seasons. He told me, “Today’s pitchers are wimps. They are looking over their shoulder in the sixth inning to see if anyone in the bullpen is getting ready to relieve them.”

The winningest pitcher in Dodgers history, another Hall of Famer, Don Sutton, was on the mound for 5,200 innings in 23 years. His comment to me one day was, “Pitch counts are pointless. I have thrown 115 pitches in a game, had an easier time, and felt stronger at the end than I did on other days when my pitch total was 85.”

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Jack, I would have to say that quality starts and pitch counts don’t rank very high on my chart of very important pitching accomplishments.

And finally

The late Don Rickles is hired as the Dodgers’ new entertainment coach. Watch it here.

Have a comment or something you’d like to see in a future Dodgers newsletter? Email me and follow me on Twitter: @latimeshouston.

Houston.mitchell@latimes.com

Twitter: @latimeshouston

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