Mattingly: 'We really canâ€™t feel sorry for ourselves'
MAY 08, 2013 11:17p ET
They could pin everything on injuries, but those are things that good teams find a way to overcome. Their losing streak, which reached eight games after Friday night’s 5-4 defeat to the Miami Marlins, is more the result of a lack of timely hitting and reliable pitching.
And the thing is, the trend seems destined to get worse. Left fielder Carl Crawford has a bad right hamstring that kept him out of the starting lineup and could put him on the disabled list. First baseman Adrian Gonzalez aggravated his strained neck trying to catch a pop foul and left in the fifth inning.
This is a team that has already used the DL 13 times and has played most of the season without its No. 2 starter, Zack Greinke, and its third baseman, Hanley Ramirez.
Gonzalez virtually shooed away reporters after the game, refusing to take questions and offering only a curt statement: “I’ll be ready to go Friday, all right?”
If he is, that would amount to good news for a team that hasn’t had much lately. Ever since Greinke suffered a broken left clavicle in a fight with Carlos Quentin of the San Diego Padres last month, the Dodgers have been in a strange spiral, with one player after another succumbing to some kind of injury.
“From Zack forward, it’s been a stream,” said manager Don Mattingly, his face worn from a 13-20 start. “I can’t let my club think we can’t win because we’ve got some guys banged up. … I don’t know what you do about injuries. It’s not something you can coach or teach. You deal with it and you have to keep going. I say it every day, and I feel like a broken record when I say it. We really can’t feel sorry for ourselves.”
No one does. The Dodgers have a $230-million player payroll and they’re in last place in the National League West. There’s no time for self-pity. And now, with such great hopes for a big season, even their fans seem impatient. After drawing six crowds of more than 50,000 this season, they averaged barely 32,000 for their sweep by the Diamondbacks.
In their quiet, grim clubhouse, players dressed quickly and left. They are filled with frustration, but at the moment, they seem powerless to change their course.
To their credit, they dismiss the easy excuse that they’ve been doomed by injuries.
“We’re banged up, but we were banged up last year too,” catcher A.J. Ellis said. “It’s the big leagues. Stuff happens. We’re just not getting it done right now. There’s nothing going on down the hall in the manager’s office. This is all about the players, and what’s going on in here. It’s up to us to step up.”
But they haven’t been doing much of that. They scored seven runs in three games against the Diamondbacks and currently rank next to last in the National League in runs and RBIs. Their bullpen has been routinely ineffective; Wednesday’s game was lost by reliever Kenley Jansen, who gave up an eighth-inning home run to Paul Goldschmidt after starter Clayton Kershaw pitched seven solid innings.
“The toughest part is trying to point a finger on why we’re losing games,” Kershaw said. “I think it would be easier if we could say, ‘This is what’s going on. Fix that and we’re back to square one.’ But it seems like every night we’re finding different ways. That’s the hard part about it.”
Maybe the arrival of the woeful Miami Marlins on Friday will turn things around. The Dodgers need a win, then a stretch of wins, to climb out of their malaise. But in their current state, they seem horribly lost.
“Every day at this point is deflating,” Mattingly said. “It keeps kind of creeping on you day in and day out.”
When will it end? Glum is a pretty sad place.
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