Are the Gray Skies Going To Clear Up for the Dodgers? Not Tonight
I've used the song from Bye Bye Birdie "Put On a Happy Face" to talk about the Dodgers before. It seems appropriate with the gray clouds covering Dodger Stadium after the team got swept by the San Francisco Giants over the weekend.
The Dodgers have put on a happy face led by manager Don Mattingly who reiterated his optimism after the sweep in San Francisco.
"I do feel better about our club walking out of there," Mattingly reaffirmed although there was a disclaimer. "I don't feel better because we lost three games. It is one of those things you say that doesn't really make a lot of sense from the standpoint of looking at the bottom line of what happened."
But it was more of the feeling he got from the club in how they played in San Francisco gave him the optimism.
"There have been some games this year where we got behind by two runs, and it felt like we were done," Mattingly continued. "It felt like the energy was lacking at that point. But there's been a little better resolve, and that last series was really a constant kind of going forward. There was never any back-off from us in that series."
Moral victory? That's what I'm hearing from the skipper.
But entering Monday's game the Dodgers are a season-low four games under .500, and can't drive a run home despite getting plenty of hits. Mattingly reiterated his mantra about all the traffic evenually coming home which sounded like he was preaching patience. But he admitted a major flaw with their offense.
"Part of the reason we're not scoring any runs is we're not hitting the ball to the seats, if you're not hitting balls in the gap," Mattingly admitted. "If they're all singles, it's harder to score."
The Dodgers leading home run hitter is Carl Crawford with four. Adrian Gonzalez leads the team with a .500 slugging percentage. The Dodgers have the fourth fewest home runs in the Major Leagues, third fewest triples and the second fewest doubles and runs-per-game.
Mattingly is right. It's hard to score runs when you're a station-to-station team, and the Dodgers have proven that.
Not helping things is the long list of Dodgers injured. Second baseman Mark Ellis joined Chad Billingsley, Scott Elbert, Stephen Fife, Zack Greinke, Ted Lilly, Hanley Ramirez and Shawn Tolleson on the disabled list. Jerry Hairston who appeared to tweak his groin on Saturday in San Francisco tested himself during batting practice.
"I'm going to take batting practice and get a guage of what I can and can't do," Hairston said. While he has a habit of playing hurt, he also said that he wouldn't play if he would hurt the team. "That's selfish."
Unfortunately after loosening up Hairston walked off the field with a noticeable limp.
"Jerry's going to have to be able to play the outfield for us not to make a roster move," Mattingly said. The way things are looking Hairston will join the masses on the disabled list.
Meanwhile Adrian Gonzalez had an MRI which showed that he has a mild strain of the trapezious muscle located at the base of his neck.
"I'm going to try and play through it and see how it feels," Gonzalez said. Gonzalez went 2-for-4 with two strikeouts in the Dodgers 9-2 loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks.
All of that optimism that Donnie had at the beginning of the day?
"That game sucked," Mattingly told reporters after the game. The Dodgers now have sole possession of last place in the NL West. Apparently it really is a whole new blue for the Dodgers.
I started the afternoon out at Dodger Stadium to see what was going on with the team before heading to STAPLES Center to cover the Kings Game 4 against the St. Louis Blues. I made the right decision from what it seemed. Chris Capuano gave up six runs, five earned, in four innings. Carl Crawford hit a home run, but that was about it for the offense save for six singles.
While the clouds may have parted briefly at Dodger Stadium in time for the game, the pall remained hanging thick over the team. Tomorrow is a new day. You take it one game at a time. After all, what else left is there?