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Dodger Notebook: After the Sweep

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The Dodgers had a brutal weekend in St. Louis getting swept in four games for the first time since 1987 by the Cardinals.

“We went into the All-Star break in good shape,” manager Joe Torre said.

The ills according to Torre: “First two games we didn’t pitch well.” The Dodgers lost those games 7-1 and 8-4 on Friday and Saturday.

“Game three we pitched well, and it wasn’t good enough because they did too,” Torre continued. That was the 2-0 loss on Saturday.

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“Yesterday was the one that got away,” Torre said. “That was killer because we were able to get a 4-0 lead.” The Dodgers lost the game 5-4 on a two-run rally by the Cardinals in the bottom of the ninth.

Torre tried to find a reason as to why the team played badly including throwing a beat writer under the bus.

“My dear friend Tony Jackson [of ESPNLA.com] informed me about how badly we played in St. Louis,” Torre said. “It sort of carried over to the team.”

I asked Torre if he was making Jackson the scapegoat of the sweep.

“I’m not going to take the blame for this, are you kidding,” Torre deadpanned.

Perhaps comforting is the arrival of the San Francisco Giants. The Dodgers have a 23-6 record in the NL West, including a 5-1 mark against the Giants, while being 26-37 against everyone else.

“I hope it continues,” Torre said. “We seem to be comfortable playing in our division. I can’t find rhyme or reason.”

Martin Thumbs Up. As far as injuries go catcher Russell Martin has seen worse. Sidelined since Saturday with a deep bone bruise on his catching thumb, Martin returns to the lineup batting eighth.

“I don’t remember exactly when it happened,” Martin said. “I banged it on a pitch and kept catching every day.”

He knew there was a problem during Saturday’s game against the St. Louis Cardinals when he troubles gripping the bat and came out in the eighth inning. However it pales in comparison to when he first began catching in 2003 and caught a sinkerball right on his cup that left him questioning his decision to become a catcher.

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After recounting the heart-warming tale he said, “Yeah, I’ve had worse.”

“He wanted to play yesterday,” Torre said. “I didn’t want him to only because of the pitcher he was going to catch which would have been tough on his thumb.”

Despite Martin feeling good enough to return to the lineup Torre said, “We’ll keep an eye out on it.”

Other Infirmary News. Torre said that Manny Ramirez, who’s out of the lineup with a pulled right calf, will get an MRI tomorrow afternoon. As for Reed Johnson, “we’re probably a little ways away with him,” Torre said. “We’ll probably going to have to rehab him a little bit. Chances are he probably won’t reach Saturday which is the day is eligible [to come off the 15-day disabled list.]”