Dodger pitchers are finding their stroke.

Hyun-Jin Ryu

Despite not batting between high school and this season, Hyun-Jin Ryu is batting .333 (4 for 12) with the Dodgers. (Associated Press photo)

Without prompt, Dodgers manager Don Mattingly did something Wednesday he rarely does: He criticized himself publicly.

Dodger pitchers have a .484 OPS (on-base plus slugging percentage) this year, third in the National League. That’s quite a bit higher than the .273 (13th) and .354 (9th) OPS that Dodger pitchers posted in 2012 and 2011, respectively. It’s not by chance, either.

“We’ve really tried to push our pitchers to work on it more,” Mattingly said. “I’ve been at fault, I think, in my first couple years for not putting emphasis on the pitchers and you start giving those at-bats away. The guy that can handle the bat really helps himself out. For the most part, he’s got to be able to bunt. A guy that can handle the bat and put it in play, you’re able to do some things.”

Are they doing more work in the cage, or different work?

“We started differently in the spring, working off the tee and putting them with Mac (hitting coach Mark McGwire) a bit,” Mattingly said. “Putting them in a situation that we’re actually giving them some drills on things that we do.”

Hyun-Jin Ryu is batting .333/.333/.417. Clayton Kershaw is tied for sixth on the team in home runs (OK, he’s only hit one, but still.) Zack Greinke is 1 for 4 with a walk.

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About J.P. Hoornstra

J.P. Hoornstra covers the Dodgers, Angels and Major League Baseball for the Orange County Register, Los Angeles Daily News, Long Beach Press-Telegram, Torrance Daily Breeze, San Gabriel Valley Tribune, Pasadena Star-News, San Bernardino Sun, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, Whittier Daily News and Redlands Daily Facts. Before taking the beat in 2012, J.P. covered the NHL for four years. UCLA gave him a degree once upon a time; when he graduated on schedule, he missed getting Arnold Schwarzenegger's autograph on his diploma by five months.