Los Angeles seeking offensive punch

Updated: June 16, 2003, 9:29 AM ET
By Jim Baker
Pitching? They've got it in spades. What the Dodgers need are some stinking runs. With that in mind, manager Jim Tracy benched one of the better defensive second baseman in the game for the second day in a row yesterday as he desperately tries to generate some runs from the players on hand. Alex Cora was understandably bummed at being given a seat on the bench in favor of Jolbert Cabrera. "Jolbert's swinging the bat good, I guess, but I really don't want to talk about it," Cora told Brian Dohn of the Los Angeles Daily News. "I'm upset about it. I don't want to talk about it."

Cora, like every Dodger save for Paul Lo Duca is off his feed from 2002 (Cesar Izturis is somewhat improved offensively but not in any way you'd notice), and Tracy is looking for any angle possible to generate some runs. Until help arrives in the person of somebody like Mike Lowell of the Marlins or Shawn Green wakes up and starts being Shawn Green, Tracy can only make the most of who he has on hand. "It gives us a shot of offense and we're utilizing our team," he told Dohn regarding the decision to bench Cora in favor of Cabrera. Like most ballplayers, Cora is convinced he was on the verge of breaking out of his slumber before being set down. "I was starting to see the ball good and all that, driving the ball the other way. The whole week my swing was good, started hitting the ball back through the middle and groundballs the other way. I started hitting the ball harder."

In the end, the Dodgers won both games Cabrera started and ran roughshod on the bottom feeders of the American League Central, winning all six games in their short six-game road trip. Fortunately for Los Angeles, these are teams that cannot overcome even their limited ability to produce. The Dodgers swept the Tigers putting up a trey in three consecutive games. They cleaned house in Cleveland with 13 runs. Things will not be so easy against the Giants this week and Jim Tracy will have to come up with more ways to get the most out of the hand he has been dealt, players' feelings be damned.

Jim Baker is an author at Baseball Prospectus and a frequent contributor to Page 2. You can e-mail Jim at bottlebat@gmail.com.

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