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Corey Seager returns, but Dodgers need more than that

Last started on Aug. 27

MLB: Los Angeles Dodgers at Pittsburgh Pirates Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

LOS ANGELES -- Nothing will make a team look worse than when it isn’t hitting. Except maybe when the pitching staff struggles to get outs. The Dodgers are caught in a vortex of both extremes right now, and the results have been putrid. They try to climb out from under the rubble on Friday night against the Rockies.

The Dodgers have scored three runs in their last four games, the streak of four straight games with no more than one run tied for the fifth-longest since moving to Los Angeles in 1958. The longest was a six-game skid by the 1984 club, including appearances by German Rivera, Bob Bailor, Ed Amelung and the like.

There were five-game streaks in 1968 (The “year of the pitcher” in MLB), 2003 (Arguably the worst Dodgers offense in team history), and in 2015 as well.

During the Dodgers’ 1-12 stretch, they have scored 28 runs, an average of just 2.15 per game. They are hitting .195/.261/.306 during that stretch, which isn’t too far off what opponents are hitting against Clayton Kershaw this season (.198/.235/.340).

The club has allowed 74 runs during that time, an average of 5.69 per game. Opponents are hitting .266/.343/.473, essentially what Yasiel Puig has done all season (.257/.346/.476). Starting pitchers have a 6.02 ERA in the last 13 games, and the bullpen has a 5.33 mark.

“It’s bad right now, there’s no getting around that,” Kershaw said after his start on Thursday night, his first loss since May 1.

The Dodgers’ run differential was +223 after play on Aug. 25, tops in baseball by 58 runs (over the Astros). Now, the run differential is down to +177, second in MLB and 22 runs behind the hard-charging Indians.

The offense, at least, gets a big cog back on Friday night, with Corey Seager expecting to return after nursing a sore elbow for the better part of two weeks. His last start was Aug. 27, and has been limited to pinch-hitting duty in the last 11 games.

He was 1-for-5.

Seager had a 15-game hitting streak before he was sidelined. He hit .348 (23-for-66) during the streak, but also has just one extra-base hit — a double — in his last 87 plate appearances, dating back to Aug. 6.

Getting a healthy and productive Seager back in the lineup will help, but much like Cody Bellinger just his return won’t be a cure-all solution. The rest of the lineup will need to produce as well.

“Those other seven guys still have to put forth good at-bats and find a way to get hits. We’re better in the lineup, but once those guys are in the batters box, Corey’s not in the batters box with them,” manager Dave Roberts said. “We as an offensive unit have to continue to grind and get better, and that’s the goal”

Game info

Time: 7:10 p.m. PT

TV: SportsNet LA