Game 57: By any name, the problem’s the same.

Andre Ethier

Andre Ethier makes a catch in foul territory, leaning over the railing in the eighth inning Sunday. It was Ethier’s third start in left field all season. (Stephen Carr/Staff photographer)


The Cardinals rallied against the Dodgers’ bullpen to win 4-2 on Sunday, but scoring appears to be the deeper problem. The box score is here. The photo gallery is here.

Andre Ethier returned to left field with relatively little fanfare.

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Andre Ethier will move to left field when Yasiel Puig returns to right field.

Andre Ethier

Andre Ethier hasn’t made an error in right field and is batting .305, but will move to left field when Yasiel Puig is activated from the disabled list. (David Crane/Staff photographer)

DENVER — Yasiel Puig is getting closer to a return, close enough that Don Mattingly was willing to divulge that Andre Ethier will move to left field once Puig is back.

Monday in Arizona, Puig ran “really well, felt good about it, close to 100 percent getting down the line,” Mattingly said. The 24-year-old is still on track to begin a minor-league rehab assignment later this week.

Beyond that, there’s no timetable for Puig to return.

Ethier has played an errorless right field in 33 starts this season. But Puig has the better arm, so shifting Ethier to left field isn’t a surprising move. In what’s becoming a remarkable bounceback season at the plate, Ethier is slashing .305/.395/.519 — basically a career year for the 33-year-old outfielder, who signed a six-year contract extension in June 2012.

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Game 44: The 2015 Dodgers are good at hitting home runs.

The Dodgers and Atlanta Braves were tied 2-2 in the eighth inning Monday. Then Andre Ethier, Alex Guerrero and Jimmy Rollins do what the 2015 Dodgers do best — hit home runs — and suddenly it was a new game. Four of the Dodgers’ runs in their 6-3 win came via the longball.

In fact, 95 of their 191 RBIs this season have been collected via home runs — only 35 via solo homers.

Don Mattingly said after the game that “I don’t think that’s the kind of club we’ll necessarily end up being but I don’t mind it.”

Today’s box score is here. The game story is here. The photo gallery is here.

Prior to the game, I asked the man with more wins than any pitcher in a Dodgers uniform about what Clayton Kershaw (2-3) is going through. Kershaw starts against the Braves tomorrow.

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Game 22: The expected rise of Joc Pederson, the unexpected rise of Carlos Frias.

Joc Pederson

Andre Ethier (left) and Joc Pederson (right) hit home runs in the Dodgers’ 8-0 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks on Friday. (Hans Gutknecht/Staff photographer)

If I told you a couple years ago that Joc Pederson, Rubby De La Rosa and Carlos Frias would be in the starting lineup May 1, 2015 at Dodger Stadium, you probably wouldn’t have been surprised. You might have guessed that Pederson would be batting leadoff, belting tape-measure grand slams, establishing himself as one of the most consistent presences in the Dodger lineup (even if his place in the batting order wasn’t always the same).

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Game 21: The Dodgers beat the Giants, and are suddenly a home-run hitting team.

Andre Ethier

Andre Ethier makes a diving catch in right-center field on this line drive by the Giants’ Matt Duffy in the second inning Wednesday. (David Crane/Staff photographer)

As a writer, I hate bogging down a story with statistics. My apologies in advance for tonight’s game story, but the reality is that a team that did not expect to slug its way into the postseason is leading the National League in home runs. Right now in Dodger-land, the numbers tell the story.

Two of the five highest-paid players in the game this year are on the Dodgers’ payroll, but neither of them have contributed to the home run total. (Though it should be noted that Zack Greinke, one of baseball’s blessed five, is 4-0.) Greinke said he failed to make adjustments over the course of his six-inning win, but again I point to the numbers: Five home runs (four by the Dodgers), six doubles (three by Dodgers) and five singles between the two teams. Neither starting pitcher adjusted well in what’s supposed to be a pitcher’s park.

Some numbers, like this, didn’t even make my story:

The box score is here. The photo gallery is here.

Joc Pederson is your new Dodgers leadoff hitter, at least for now.

The Dodgers were reportedly interested in jumping in on the Josh Hamilton trade, if only to acquire prospects.

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