SAN DIEGO -- Another season is almost in the books and the Dodgers are once again mystified by outfielder Andre Ethier's inability to hit left-handed pitching anywhere near as successfully as he does against right-handers.
He did it in Spring Training. He did it early in the season. So, maybe it was a strained oblique muscle or a hand blister, but he's not doing it now. On the season, he's hitting .329 against right-handed pitching but .215 against lefties. The career comparison is .311 to .236.
Mattingly speculated that there is a flaw in Ethier's approach against left-handed pitching, that he tries to hit lefties with the same power swing he uses against right-handers.
"Watch his at-bat plan and it doesn't change too much," Mattingly said. "At the end of the day, it comes back to the guy has to -- and not just 'Dre but anybody -- has to have a plan. I'm sure he does. He's a smart hitter who understands his swing. I have trouble understanding it. His swing is so short, he should be able to hit them. Maybe he doesn't see them. It could be that. I know the numbers -- there's a huge differential.
"It's something we seriously have to look at as far as how we approach it. I think he can hit left-handers. The numbers say maybe he can't and we have to go a different route. Me believing a guy can do something and him doing it are two different things."