Grim, dark, scary. It’s not a Halloween ad for a haunted house, it’s the situation the Dodgers find themselves in after losing the first two games of the National League Championship Series.
The Dodgers are in real trouble, having to face St. Louis Cardinals ace Adam Wainwright on Monday and possibly having to play without Hanley Ramirez and Andre Ethier.
Foreboding has found a home at Dodger Stadium. They should pipe in Vincent Price doing that eerie laugh of his as fans enter the ballpark, and layer the stadium with fake cobwebs.
The Dodgers are playing a lot like the team that started 30-42 and not much like the team that put together a 42-8 run. Of course, that latter team had a healthy Ramirez in the middle of the lineup.
No Dodger has had greater offensive impact on the team than Ramirez. When he’s not in the lineup, they are not only a different team physically, but you have to suspect, also mentally.
“We've got 25 guys,” Manager Don Mattingly said. “We're a team. We've got to find a way to be able to do it with Hanley or without Hanley. So pretty much as simple as that.
“I think the excuses of Hanley's not in the lineup, a psychological letdown, you can have all of that but it's not going to do you any good. We had chances to win in the last two games. We just didn't get it done. We didn't get the hit when we needed it.”
The Dodgers will have to rally around Hyun-Jin Ryu, who is coming off the worst start of his career. He did, however, pitch well the only time he faced the Cardinals, not giving up an earned run in seven innings. He gave up five hits, did not walk a batter and struck out seven. So there’s that.
Teams have come back from 0-2 deficits before, but only the 2004 Boston Red Sox came back from 0-3. It may be only Game 3, but for the Dodgers it’s all hands on deck.
“This team has been counted out a lot of times this year,” Ethier said, “and we figured out a way to get it done. We definitely have it in ourselves and have proved it.”
Not in the playoffs, they haven’t. And in truth, not without Ramirez. It's almost ghoulish.