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Dodgers offense not firing on all cylinders

New York Mets v Los Angeles Dodgers Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

SAN DIEGO — Much of the talk surrounding the Dodgers’ recent slump -- seven losses in their last eight games — has been about starting pitching, and for good reason. But the offense hasn’t exactly been firing on all cylinders either.

The Dodgers have scored two or fewer runs in five of those last eight games, including three of the last four contests. That includes eight total runs in the first three games of this weekend series against the Padres.

A big driver of the Dodgers’ offensive engine this season has been their usual top four hitters, with Chris Taylor, Corey Seager, Justin Turner, and Cody Bellinger all putting up seasons that should garner them all MVP votes.

Seager is dealing with elbow soreness that limits him to just pinch-hitting duties for now. He hasn’t started the last six games, and likely won’t start again until next weekend’s home series against the Rockies at the earliest. Seager will start a throwing program on Monday at Dodger Stadium, one that is expected to last four to seven days, with his return date depending on how he progresses.

Bellinger missed nine games with a right ankle sprain, and though he homered on Saturday since returning from the disabled list is just 3-for-16 (.188).

“You look at what Corey brings to our lineup, he’s arguably our best offensive player who’s not in there. Cody’s just getting his feet wet, still trying to get on track,” manager Dave Roberts said. “Right now we’re not firing.”

Seager and Bellinger haven’t been in the same lineup since Aug. 19 in Detroit. In the 14 games since, the Dodgers are averaging 3.14 runs per game while hitting just .226/.313/.358.

The club is 5-9 in those games, after nine losses in their previous 61 games.

The offense will try to turn things around on Sunday facing Jhoulys Chacin, who has pitched like a world beater at Petco Park this season. In 15 home starts, Chacin is 7-3 with a 1.85 ERA and 3.90 FIP, with opposing batters hitting a minuscule .180/.270/.285 against him.

In 13 road starts, Chacin is 4-7 with a 6.96 ERA and 5.36 FIP, with opposing batters tattooing him to the tune of .306/.388/.504. Essentially, in 2017 terms, batters on the road against Chacin are Corey Seager, while hitters in San Diego against Chacin are Alex Gordon.

*Side note: Holy crap, what a bad season Gordon is having (.197/.281/.283 with five home runs in 450 plate appearances). I had no idea.

Alex Wood will be activated from the 10-day disabled list to start the series finale for the Dodgers, making his first start since Aug. 21 in Pittsburgh.

Game info

Time: 1:40 p.m. PT

TV: SportsNet LA