No matter how impossible it sounds, the Dodgers are making you think about it. About one of the great collapses in baseball history.
It all seems ridiculous and far-fetched and the stuff of the easily panicked, but after a 4-3 loss to the San Francisco Giants on Sunday, the Dodgers are almost forcing the thought to creep in.
The Dodgers were once rolling over teams, putting together an historic run that seized control of the National League West. Everyone was supposed to have conceded.
But they have now lost eight of their last 11 games and finding a real, live major-league lineup has again become a challenge for Manager Don Mattingly.
The Dodgers still have a 10½-game lead over the Arizona Diamondbacks with only 13 to play, but their magic number remains stalled at four, and their next four games are in Arizona, so there's that.
Injuries suddenly have depleted the outfield, and the end of the season is starting to mirror its beginning, when Dodgers crowded the disabled list. The current injuries supposedly are not serious, but they're coming at the wrong time.
They did little to help the Los Angeles cause Sunday, as the Dodgers lost to Hunter Pence and the Giants to go 1-3 in the four-game series.
Pence hit a home run in each of the first three games against the Dodgers, but managed to top that Sunday with two homers. Both came against Edinson Volquez, who otherwise pitched well.
Still, the Dodgers loaded the bases against right-hander Ryan Vogelsong in the fifth to bring up the one guy the Giants didn’t want to see in that situation, Adrian Gonzalez. He doubled to clear the bases and briefly put the Dodgers up, 3-1. Pence's second homer, a two-run shot, tied it.
But Mattingly went to his Paco Rodriguez well once too often. Rodriguez started the eighth inning and immediately gave up a solo homer to pinch-hitter Brett Pill. Rodriguez was appearing in his 72nd game of the season.
The most professional games the 22-year-old Rodriguez previously had appeared in during a single season was 32.
Volquez went 5 2/3 innings for the Dodgers, allowing three runs and five hits. He did not walk a batter and struck out seven.
The Dodgers had a chance to tie, or even win the game in the ninth, after Nick Buss and Dee Gordon singled to put runners on the corners with one out. Gordon stole second before Sergio Romo struck out Mark Ellis.
The Giants intentionally walked Gonzalez and Yasiel Puig, who didn't start because he supposedly has a sore hip, grounded out on the first pitch he saw as a pinch hitter to end it.Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times