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Dodgers’ newest concern? Andre Ethier slumping vs. lefties

Well, Matt Kemp got a hit. That ended an 0-for-21 skid. He also hit the ball hard two other times. That’s going in the right direction.

Now, if the Dodgers can correct the other half of their big outfield duo problem.

Andre Ethier is in a different kind of slump, if a more selective one: He is once again struggling to hit left-handed pitching.

There has been a pretty decent split between the way Etheir, who bats left-handed, fared against lefties vs. righties for years, though it wasn’t looking like much of a problem through the end of May when he was batting .311 against lefties.

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But in stats complied by True Blue LA’s Eric Stephen, Ethier has hit just .130 (12 for 92) against lefties since.

The turnaround has flummoxed Dodgers Manager Don Mattingly.

“A little bit,” Mattingly said. “Honestly, I don’t understand it. I don’t know if he’s not seeing it the same way, or his thinking kind of gets out of whack.

“Early in the season, if you’d seen this guy, it’d been like, why would Andre not hit left-handers? He’s shooting the ball down the left-field line, shooting balls into left-center.

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“And he’s battling, too. I know he’s working and trying and battling up there. We just have to keep going, keep working and keep getting better.”

On the season, Ethier is hitting .216 against left-handers and .319 against right-handers. For his career, he’s .238/.310.

Twice Tuesday night Giants Manager Bruce Bochy brought in a left-handed reliever to face Ethier late in the game, and Ethier struck out the sixth and bounced into a game-ending double play in the ninth.

“Obviously I’m a guy who believes Andre hits everybody, and that he can hit everybody,” Mattingly said.

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Only right now, it’s not happening. And in truth, hasn’t been for a while. The Dodgers’ only real choice is to wait it out. They could platoon him against left-handed pitchers, but that’s tough to do when you’re paying him $85 million.

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