SAN FRANCISCO - Asked his daily quota of questions about why he keeps starting slumping outfielder Curtis Granderson, manager Dave Roberts answered by saying there's plenty of blame to go around when a team loses 11 straight and 16 of 17, as the Dodgers have done in record-breaking fashion.
"To look at one player and to feel that that one player, not necessarily saying he's the reason -- there's a lot of guys when you look at the last 16 games, the offensive production as an entire group has been well below average," Roberts said before Tuesday's clash with the Giants. "So, the easy thing to do is -- how do we fix it? -- and change pieces. Some of it is guys have to play better and Curtis is one of those. He's got to play better and he knows that, along with other guys in the lineup."
Since being acquired by the Dodgers from the Mets on Aug. 19, Granderson entered Tuesday batting .111 with four homers, a .534 OPS and 24 strikeouts in 86 plate appearances. His current struggles are similar to his April, when Granderson had a .395 OPS. He jumped to .874 in May and 1.153 in June, down to .635 in July and was hot enough in an .898 August to entice the Dodgers, only for him to go cold again.
"He's always been streaky," Roberts said. "To give him as much opportunity to find his stroke, we want to do that. You trade for a guy who's had a good year and productive season in Granderson, but the last 70 at-bats haven't been ideal for him. He's struggled and so you want to try to find a way to get him untracked. I do believe the quality of contact, albeit hard contact foul, I think he's just a click out front. I think he's close; I'm seeing good signs."
Roberts, critical of home fans for booing Pedro Baez last weekend, said scapegoating is natural.
"It's much easier to point to one player or two players and say, 'This is the reason.' But I don't operate that way," he said. "There's a lot of things that take place in a game that result in a win or a loss. Pedro didn't lose a game for us last night. Nor did Curtis, who took one at-bat. Adrian Gonzalez didn't cost us a game last night. Could they impact the game? Absolutely. But no one player cost us the game last night. And that's a fact, in my opinion."
Roberts said outfielder Andre Ethier, looking for a postseason role after missing most of the year with a herniated disk, will start Friday in Washington. Roberts also announced that Hyun-Jin Ryu, skipped this time in the rotation, will start Sunday against the Nationals. Kenta Maeda, who started Monday night, will be skipped and return next Wednesday or Thursday. Ryu threw a bullpen session Tuesday. A scheduled simulated game was scrapped because of the late finish of Monday night's game.
Ken Gurnick has covered the Dodgers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2001. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.