The Dodgers look for their third consecutive win on Saturday as they host the Rockies in the second game of a three-game series. On a relatively quiet day at Dodger Stadium, some of the pregame talk centered around hamstrings, a literally sore subject around these parts.
Matt Kemp set a Dodgers franchise record with 12 home runs in April but has no home runs in nine games in May. Kemp was a late scratch to last Sunday's starting lineup with a tight left hamstring, but manager Don Mattingly doesn't think the injury is related to his power drought.
"Matt's no different than anybody else. He's not going to hit .430. He's going to go through periods," Mattingly said. "Guys that hit home runs get hot, hit them for a week, then slow down, then have another hot streak. I don't think it has to do with his hammy."
Kemp isn't the only one dealing with hamstring issues, either. The Dodgers placed both Juan Rivera and Jerry Hairston Jr. on the disabled list with left hamstring strains of varying degrees this week, and both Alex Castellanos and Matt Angle have had hamstring issues as well in Triple A.
While troublesome, the recent rash of hamstring injuries isn't necessarily related, as five hamstring problems in an organization with roughly 180 players is hardly an epidemic. Both trainer Sue Falsone and Mattingly see the hamstring injuries as coincidental.
"It's something that you wonder if we're doing anything differently. But it doesn't sound like we are," Mattingly said. "The programs that we've been doing are the same things we have done in the past and we didn't notice hamstring injuries in the past."
Mattingly called a team meeting before the game on April 25 to address the team's baserunning mistakes. At the time, the Dodgers were 12 for 23 on attempted steals (52.2%) and had made 11 outs on the bases through 18 games. Since then, the Dodgers are eight for 11 (72.7%) on stolen base attempts and have made four outs on the bases in 14 games.
Mattingly has been pleased with the progress.
"I haven't thought about it a whole lot, and that's probably saying it's been good," Mattingly said. "I haven't seen us running into crazy outs. I feel better about it."
Miles Provides Depth
The Dodgers signed Aaron Miles on Friday, but general manager had been checking in off an on with Miles for some time after the infielder didn't sign with anybody during the offseason.
Mattingly said Miles would be in extended spring training in Arizona to get ready, then eventually head to Triple A Albuquerque to get at-bats. But Mattingly stopped short of saying it was inevitable that Miles would be back with Los Angeles.
"I can't sit here and say we have a plan that Aaron Miles will be here, but it's nice knowing that he is there," Mattingly said. "I was shocked that he was not playing somewhere. To me, it was a great sign. As much as anything, it's having depth in your organization."
Game Time: 6:10 p.m.
TV: Prime Ticket