So the Dodgers might consider themselves lucky that Sunday is Clayton Kershaw's turn to pitch, just in time for a series finale with the Mets and a chance to avoid an eighth straight loss.
Kershaw is 5-4 with a 2.74 ERA, though he has looked a bit more vulnerable than in his award-winning 2011 campaign. Still, with the Mets in town, the lefty is the perfect man to stop the Dodgers' bleeding: The 24-year-old is 4-0 with a 1.39 ERA and 29 strikeouts in 32 1/3 career innings against New York.
His task is nevertheless formidable. The Mets, who have won four straight, have the National League's third-most productive offense with 362 runs scored, as well as the league's second-leading hitter in third baseman David Wright (.355). They also have Dillon Gee headed to the mound for the finale with a 5-6 record and a 4.42 ERA in 15 starts this year. Gee had a streak of seven straight quality starts snapped Tuesday against the Cubs, as he yielded four runs in five innings, his shortest outing of the year.
Gee is 0-1 with a 5.73 ERA in two career starts against the Dodgers, both of which came last season. But the Los Angeles lineup he'll face Sunday is struggling mightily. Admittedly, the prolonged absence of Matt Kemp hasn't helped, and a recent oblique strain has kept the NL's third-leading RBI man Andre Ethier out of the lineup of late, as well. Even so, the Dodgers' inability to score during this streak has been almost inconceivable, as they have posted just five total runs in their last seven contests.
Manager Don Mattingly is trying to find the best way to help his players dig out of those struggles, and certainly doesn't think getting in their faces is the way to go.
"That maybe works for a day, but then you have another 90 games," he said. "You can't sustain that in baseball. You can't sustain the screaming and yelling and being fired up."
What might work to stem his team's descent is, quite simply, Kershaw being Kershaw. If history is any indication, it may just take that one win to get Los Angeles going again: The last time the Dodgers lost seven straight was August 2008. They won 12 of their next 13 games.
The Dodgers are one game back of the Giants in the NL West.
Dodgers: Lee LA bound?
The Dodgers reportedly have a deal in place that would bring Astros first baseman Carlos Lee to Los Angeles and are awaiting word from Lee if he will waive his no-trade clause.
The 36-year-old Lee is in the final year of a six-year, $100 million dollar deal, but owns and operates a ranch outside Houston. Though his 2013 status is not necessarily dependent on whether he accepts the trade, Lee may also be considering Houston's impending move to the American League, a shift that could potentially allow "El Caballo" to do most of his work as the designated hitter, perhaps prolonging his career.
Lee is hitting .285 with five homers and 29 RBIs and told MLB.com's Brian McTaggart that the potential to finish the season with a squad in contention is "one of the things I have to think about."
Mets: Shutout success
The 5-0 shutout of the Dodgers on Saturday was the Mets' 10th of the season, tied for the Major League lead with the Angels and Giants. Winning pitcher Johan Santana has accounted for four of those shutout victories, while R.A. Dickey has three.
Dodgers outfielder Ethier is still day to day with a strained left oblique muscle. Ethier and Mattingly have both expressed a desire to be cautious with the injury, given Ethier's importance to the lineup down the stretch.
Ethier is hitting .291 with 10 homers. He didn't swing before Saturday's game, but did throw.
The Dodgers signed first-round Draft pick Corey Seager (18th overall) on Saturday. The infielder from North Carolina was committed to play at South Carolina, but was lured by a $2.35 million signing bonus (his slotted value was $1.95 million). Seager took batting practice with the Dodgers at Chavez Ravine before preparing to report to Ogden, Utah, for rookie ball. Seager is the brother of Mariners' infielder Kyle Seager.