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Dodgers zeroing in on possible run

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"What base is this again?"
"What base is this again?"
Jason O. Watson/Getty Images

The Dodgers try to avoid a sweep at the hands of the Giants on Thursday afternoon at AT&T Park in San Francisco, though perhaps simply scoring a run should be the goal.

Baby steps, after all.

The Dodgers have been down this road before, getting shut out in all three games in San Francisco from June 25-27, 2012. If we're talking slumps, this current malaise the Dodgers are in — two runs in their last four games — is nothing compared to that stretch three years ago.

From June 17-29, 2012, the Dodgers scored a grand total of 17 runs in 13 games, including six shutouts and 10 games of two or fewer runs. That stretch included 11 losses, and the team hit a putrid .186/.232/.232 with one home run, and was 11-for-75 (.147) with runners in scoring position.

That slump ended with a start by Clayton Kershaw, who gets the ball in Thursday afternoon's series finale.

This season, the Dodgers in San Francisco have reached new lows in hitting with runners in scoring position. The team is just 1-for-25 (.040) with seven walks and a hit by pitch in their five games up north, all losses.

The Dodgers have struck out five times in those plate appearances, meaning they have put 20 balls in play. One has fallen for a hit.

A double by Alex Guerrero on April 21 was the only hit by a Dodger with runners in scoring position.

But while hitting with runners in scoring position is key — on the Dodgers rank first in MLB with runners in scoring position in on-base percentage (.383), second in OPS (.856), third in slugging percentage (.474), walks (51) and doubles (24); and sixth in batting average (.285) — there are larger problems for the Dodgers in San Francisco this season.

On the season, the Dodgers hit with runners in scoring position in 25.1 percent of their plate appearances. But at AT&T Park, they have hit with RISP in 17.7 percent of their plate appearances.

Hitting with runners in scoring position is important, but so is putting runners in scoring position in the first place is also important.

The Giants at home against the Dodgers this season are 12-for-39 with runners in scoring position with a home run, four walks and 11 strikeouts (a .393 BABIP), hitting .308/.364/.385.

That brings us back to Kershaw.

Oh yeah, Madison Bumgarner starts for the Giants.

Game info

Time: 12:45 p.m. PT

TV: SportsNet LA, MLB Network