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It's Back to the 'L' Column for the Dodgers

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The Dodgers won two straight games over the weekend which is quite a feat considering they were coming off of an eight-game losing streak. I know I brushed aside their victory on Saturday, but then I started wondering if maybe the taste of victory could cleanse the psyche that was tainted with all the losses.

"I don't care who they came against, they felt pretty good," manager Don Mattingly said before the game about the wins. "We talked about it after that first night: music in the clubhouse, kids running around. That feeling is a good feeling."

Sometimes when life hands you lemons you've got to make lemonade, I suppose.

"We walk away with a W at the end of the night. We put two together and we have a chance to move forward tonight and put something together."

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On Monday that psychic cleanse was trumped by bad play all around in the Dodgers 6-2 loss to the Washington Nationals.

Josh Beckett lasted only three innings giving up four runs, only two earned thanks to a fielding error by first baseman Adrian Gonzalez in the third inning off of Steve Lombardozzi's sharp grounder. Mattingly gave him the hook early because of an apparently groin tweak when Beckett went to cover first base in the third inning.

"I'm not saying that's the reason he came out of the game," Mattingly explained. "It was pretty much going that way anyway where we were going to pinch hit there."

Mattingly also mentioned other "little stuff going on" in "different areas" that the team has known about. When asked about it Beckett just said, "I'm not a doctor."

I guess we'll figure out tomorrow the extent of whatever injuries there might be.

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In the meantime Javy Guerra came in for two innings to hold the game, however he got into trouble in the fifth inning after a wide throw to second on Ryan Zimmerman's comebacker allowed a run to score and move runners up to second and third bases. Adam LaRoche's single gave the Nationals the 6-0 lead for starter Jordan Zimmerman.

Jordan Zimmerman, 3-0 in his last three starts with a 0.38 ERA, was probably not the pitcher for the Dodgers to face in trying to keep their moods buoyant. He pitched into the eighth inning giving up two runs on nine hits. The good news was Matt Kemp extended his hit streak to 12 games with an RBI single in the eighth inning. The bad news on that is of those 15 hits only two were for extra bases, both being doubles.

J.P. Howell pitched two scoreless innings while Ronald Belisario and Matt Guerrier tossed one scoreless inning each.

The talk of the night happened when Bryce Harper tried to make a spectacular play on A.J. Ellis' fly ball to right field to lead off the bottom of the fifth inning. Taking a circuitous route Harper headed back towards the wall. Unfortunately he put his right arm down and ran head first into the chain-link fence that protects the out-of-town scoreboard.

Harper instantly crumpled onto the ground and lay motionless while the ball landed behind him. Ellis wound up on third base, but no one in the ballpark was concerned about his annual triple. Harper got up and blood was seeping around his neck as if his chain cut him. He received 11 stitches and injured his shoulder in the process.

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One person who can empathize with Harper is Matt Kemp who separated his right shoulder by running into the scoreboard on Apr. 9, 2007. "It's tough," Kemp said about his memories of that scoreboard. Back then there was no grating that protected the scoreboard.

"It looked bad," Kemp said about Harper's play. "I'm just praying that he's okay. Hoepfully he doesn't miss any games."

So their ninth loss in their last 11 games, is it a regression for the Dodgers?

"We'll find out in the next couple of days," Mattingly said. The sense of relief that began the evening has turned into caution and with good reason. "We'll get right back on the horse and play tomorrow and we'll see what happens."

The Dodgers do have Clayton Kershaw going for them tomorrow, so that's got to inspire some confidence. "I don't feel we went totally backwards."

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I guess we'll see.