Dodgers becoming more aggressive on base path

The Dodgers are suffering through their worst stretch of the season with six losses in their last seven games after Sunday’s 3-2 loss to the Rockies, but they have been improving in one area: stealing bases.

The Dodgers in 2011 were fourth in the National League with 126 stolen bases and stole those bases at a 75.9 percent clip, fifth in the league. But this year, the club began the year much worse when trying to steal.

Though May 26, the Dodgers had stolen just 21 bases in 46 games and were caught 18 times, for a 53.8 percent success rate. First base coach Davey Lopes, who also serves as base-running instructor, was not pleased.

“Stolen bases, am I happy with that? No, to be honest with you,” Lopes said on May 26. “No one is really doing as well this year as he did last year. Last year’s record was very good. This year is not even close, we’ve went backwards. It’s something we’ll have to adjust.”

However, since those words from Lopes, the Dodgers have 12 stolen bases in eight games, and they haven’t been caught once.

Dee Gordon had two of those stolen bases and has hit .302 with a .348 on-base percentage in 13 games since getting benched. Gordon returned to the leadoff spot Sunday for the first time since May 18. If he can turn things around, perhaps he can help turn things around for the struggling Dodgers.

NOTES, QUOTES
Rivera ready to be activated
   –OF/1B Juan Rivera will be activated Monday when the Dodgers are in Philadelphia, manager Don Mattingly said on Sunday.
   –SS Dee Gordon returned to the leadoff spot Sunday in Colorado for the first time since May 18, and went 1-for-4.
   –C A.J. Ellis hit his sixth home run of the season on Sunday, but also had his sixth passed ball, which is second in the National League.
   –OF Tony Gwynn Jr. went 0-for-4 Sunday and is in a 3-for-23 slump.
   –LHP Chris Reed, the Dodgers’ first-round draft pick in 2011, was promoted to Double A Chattanooga on Sunday after striking out 38 batters in 35 innings with a 3.09 ERA with Class A Rancho Cucamonga.
   BY THE NUMBERS: 2.84 — Nathan Eovaldi’s ERA after two starts for the Dodgers, but thanks to three total runs of support, he is 0-2.
   QUOTE TO NOTE: “He’s been that guy that’s for us every day, getting the hit when we need it.” — Don Mattingly, to the Los Angeles Times on Andre Ethier, who leads the National League with 46 RBI.

ROSTER REPORT
   MEDICAL WATCH:
   –CF Matt Kemp (strained left hamstring) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to May 14. He began a rehab assignment with Class AAA Albuquerque on May 27, and he returned from the disabled list May 29. He re-injured the hamstring May 30 and left the game. He went back on the 15-day disabled list May 31, and he is expected to be out until at least late June.
   –OF/1B Juan Rivera (ruptured left hamstring) went on the 15-day disabled list May 9. He began a rehab assignment with Class AAA Albuquerque on May 27, and he moved his rehab to Class A Rancho Cucamonga on May 30. He likely will be activated the week of June 4.
   –LHP Ted Lilly (left shoulder inflammation) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to May 24. AN MRI showed no damage, so he won’t need surgery.
   –INF Justin Sellers (bulging lower back disk) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to May 23. The problem was causing him numbness in his right leg.
   –2B Mark Ellis (left leg surgery) went on the 15-day disabled list May 19. He had to have a second surgery May 21 to drain his swollen left leg, two days after having an emergency fasciotomy to relieve pressure in the leg. He will be out until at least mid-July.
   –RHP Matt Guerrier (right elbow tendinitis) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to April 19. He threw a bullpen session May 16 and then had to rest for three days with elbow soreness. He had more elbow pain May 23, slowing his recovery again.
   –3B Juan Uribe (sprained left wrist) went on the 15-day disabled list May 14. He began taking batting practice in late May.
   –RHP Blake Hawksworth (arthroscopic right elbow surgeries in January 2012 and February 2012) went on the 60-day disabled list March 27. He played in an intrasquad game in at the Dodgers’ Arizona facility on May 24.
   –RHP Rubby De La Rosa (Tommy John surgery in August 2011) went on the 60-day disabled list March 26.