With the inconsistency the Los Angeles Dodgers have had on offense side this season, some glaring weaknesses have stood out more than others.
One of them is the two catchers on the roster — Drew Butera and A.J. Ellis — are both hitting below .200. Ellis, who is widely viewed as the pitching staff’s go-to catcher, has struggled to stay healthy for portions of the season and in turn has had a difficult time trying to find any offensive consistency.
The 33 year old is hitting .185 thus far and hit his first home run on Sunday. Butera is batting .193 with two home runs and 11 RBIs.
Manager Don Mattingly is well aware of Ellis’ batting pains and said the team simply offers words of encouragement, according to LA Daily News Group’s J.P. Hoornstra:
We don’t tell him anything about average. We just tell him to turn the page and not get frustrated. No matter what you tell a guy, they’re going to see it.”
Mattingly also noted Ellis’ troubles can be easily forgotten should he deliver in a key moment:
If he gets us a big hit in the playoffs or gets us in the World Series, gets us into the playoffs somehow, people forget about anything you’ve done all year long. They remember ‘this guy came through when we needed him.’ I think that’s the way guys who have struggled have to look at it.”
Ellis didn’t offer much when asked about his struggles and said he hasn’t contributed much this season:
What I can do the rest of the year is give every at-bat I can to help the team win this game. That’s what’s most disappointing, my inability to help the team.”
The Dodgers play the second of their four-game series with the Atlanta Braves on Tuesday, and Ellis will once again be behind the plate and looking to find his footing offensively.
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