The Dodgers can actually afford to lose a few games, but players suddenly falling by the wayside are another matter.
The Dodgers did lose Friday, 4-2, to the San Francisco Giants before a Dodger Stadium crowd of 52,650.
Yet with the Arizona Diamondbacks also losing, the Dodgers' magic number for clinching the National League West shrank to four games. Lose like that four more times and they’re division champions.
But one night after Hanley Ramirez was lost for at least a few days to a back injury, outfielder Andre Ethier was forced out of the game.
Ethier doubled in the eighth inning, but as he reached second he stopped on the bag and bent over with hands on knees. Assistant trainer Nancy Patterson was quickly by his side, and soon Ethier was walking off the field.
The Dodgers said after the game that Ethier had irritated his left ankle, which he'd sprained during a series at Colorado last week. Manager Don Mattingly had mentioned the injury Thursday.
All the action in Friday's game came late.
For five innings, it was an old-fashioned pitching duel. Lots of strikeouts and precious few hits. Clayton Kershaw and Madison Bumgarner were locked in, each putting up zeroes. Scoring threats were hard to come by.
The Dodgers broke the deadlock in the bottom of the sixth, thanks in part to some managing by Mattingly that made him look like a baseball genius. After shortstop Joaquin Arias bobbled a bouncer from Michael Young that was ruled an infield hit, up came Juan Uribe.
That would be Juan Uribe, cleanup hitter. With Ramirez sidelined, Uribe was batting cleanup for the first time in his three seasons with the Dodgers; Mattingly liked him there against the left-handed Bumgarner.
Uribe lifted his 11th home run of the season over the wall in left-center, and the Dodgers had a 2-0 lead.
But it was brief.
The Giants came back to score three times in the top of the seventh. Kershaw, who had allowed only four hits in the first six innings, gave up four consecutive hits to start the seventh.
Singles by Hunter Pence, Pablo Sandoval, Arias and Brett Pill, aided by a Scott Van Slyke error in left, put the Giants on top, 3-2.
Kershaw (14-9) left after seven innings, having allowed three runs (two earned) and eight hits, with no walks and six strikeouts. His major league-best earned-run average rose to 1.94.
Bumgarner (12-9) went six innings for the Giants, holding the Dodgers to two runs, six hits and two walks, and striking out six.
The Giants added to their lead in the eighth when Pence hit his 22nd home run, to right-center off of reliever Chris Withrow.Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times