Minutes after the Dodgers' 14th game, a bullpen-depleting 9-2 loss to the San Diego Padres on Tuesday, manager Don Mattingly rhetorically asked what would be the point of meeting with his team.
Apparently something changed in the next 24 hours.
The Padres won again Wednesday and completed their first series sweep at Dodger Stadium in seven years. They left a cruel going-away present, a cloud of doubt, as an unwelcome passenger on the Dodgers' flight to Baltimore.
It was time for a team meeting.
"The last few days, when we've gotten down, it feels like we're way down," he said. "This club shouldn't feel like that."
The Dodgers went 5 for 27 with runners in scoring position in the series. For the season, their .171 batting average with runners in scoring position ranked 28th in Major League Baseball through Wednesday.
They have scored fewer runs than all but one team, the rebuilding Miami Marlins.
"Getting down a couple runs," Mattingly said, "you want to be sitting there on the bench thinking, 'We've got all day, we're going to put some runs on the board.'
"Right now, I can't tell you that you get that feeling on the bench."
How do they turn it around?
"Just play another game," Wednesday's starter, Clayton Kershaw, said. "Keep going. Can't look back."
It might be that simple for a pitcher who throws every five days -- every six this time through the rotation. First baseman
Adrian Gonzalez said it's going to take more than one big hit or one big inning, to break out of their slump with runners in scoring position.
"It's hit after hit after hit, so we can all see it," Gonzalez said.
"It takes a big week. One game is not going to carry momentum. Two, three, four games is going to carry momentum."
The Dodgers have several slumping players. Superstar Matt Kemp is getting the most attention because his .182 batting average is far below his .293 career pace. However, third baseman Luis Cruz (.100) and shortstop Justin Sellers (.179) have created black holes at the bottom of the lineup.
Sellers likely will head back to Triple-A once shortstop Hanley Ramirez (thumb surgery) is activated from the disabled list, which should happen sometime next month.
Reserves Skip Schumaker, Nick Punto, Juan Uribe, Jerry Hairston Jr. and Ramon Hernandez are collectively hitting .221 (15 for 68).
The Dodgers' game in Baltimore today will be their seventh ever against a team that once merged with the Brooklyn Dodgers, back in 1899.
A good time for a road trip?
"A good time for a day off," Gonzalez said Wednesday.
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