The Dodgers know they can score runs. Now they need to show it.
"It can change," said catcher Russell Martin, who is 4-for-18 with three walks in the playoffs. "You can get shut out one night and the next night you can score 11 runs, kind of like the Phillies did. But we know we have a good offense. We've got good balance all the way through our lineup. The key is just to go out there, keep battling and hopefully catch fire soon."
In the Division Series against St. Louis, the Dodgers had what may be the most frustrating kind of offensive issue. They were getting runners on base, but they couldn't get them home. In the last two games of the NLCS, they haven't even gotten runners on. Still, they're 9-for-48 with men in scoring position in the playoffs. With or without quality pitching, that's not likely to be good enough to win a lot of games.
In fairness, Los Angeles ran into Cliff Lee, a Cy Young winner who had his good stuff going on Sunday night. Even with top-quality at-bats, the Dodgers might not have done much. But this isn't a one-game issue, it's something that's been going on awhile. And it's something that needs to be corrected.
The task may get a bit easier in Game 4, when Lee gives way to Joe Blanton. But Pedro Martinez didn't look like any kind of world-beater coming into his Game 2 start, and he threw a gem at the Dodgers.
"We faced two tough pitchers, and they got the best of us the last two games," Matt Kemp said. "We won one of those games, and today we just didn't have it. They came out and really outhit us."
Kemp has been emblematic of the struggles. Since a critical home run against Chris Carpenter in Game 1 of the Division Series, he's gone quiet. He's 1-for-14 with runners on base since that homer, and overall he's 5-for-26 (.192) with no walks and 12 strikeouts in the playoffs.
Typically one of the Dodgers' most dynamic offensive players, Kemp has not lived up to expectations in October. He acknowledges it -- and doesn't have any more of an answer than anyone else does.
"I'm not hitting the ball that well," Kemp said. "I'm just going out there playing hard, and when I get hits, I get hits."
Matthew Leach is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.