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Dodgers are running in place — will they ever get on a roll?

Major League BaseballBaseballLos Angeles DodgersSan Francisco GiantsArizona DiamondbacksA.J. EllisPittsburgh Pirates
Dodgers are 9-9 in their last 18 games, failing to keep pace with NL West-leading Giants
The Dodgers are missing three injured starters but the rotation is getting healthy

Does it really seem so much to ask?

A little roll? Stringing a few wins together? Some actual movement in a forward direction?

Right now the Dodgers are kings of treading water, which I guess is swell if you’re on a water polo team but doesn’t do much for moving up baseball standings.

They’re actually going backward while standing still, Thursday’s 6-3 loss to the Pirates leaving them a season-high 6½ games behind the Giants in the National League West.

Now all you Optimist Club members may feel obligated to point out that the Dodgers were actually 8½ games out at this point in the season last year and they ended up winning the West by 11 games.

But last year the Dodgers were chasing the fraudulent Diamondbacks and not the two-time champion Giants. They’re chasing a real team now. And it might be best not to count on another 42-8 run.

The season is over a third behind them now, and the Dodgers have yet to put together a winning streak of more than three games? A team with a baseball-high $240-million payroll cannot get on a roll to save its little Not A Mascot’s life.

It’s sort of unthinkable when you consider they have perhaps baseball’s deepest rotation. They should stumble into a decent winning streak on that alone. The current rotation was a combined 24-9 with a 2.81 earned-run average entering Thursday’s game. Granted, they haven’t been completely healthy for much of the year, but they are now.

And yet it’s win a couple, lose a couple. In their last 18 games, the Dodgers are 9-9. Wholly unimpressive.

They can point to plenty of things. This starting pitcher is out, their two supposedly best hitters — Hanley Ramirez and Matt Kemp — are off to slow starts, the defense is a problem, the bullpen is all over the place, they have three starters (Juan Uribe, A.J. Ellis, Carl Crawford) on the disabled list. Whatever.

There’s still plenty there, plenty that should be doing a whole lot better than 29-26. Everyone in that clubhouse, in management, in the media and in the stands believes they’re better than that.

Time to get on a little roll and prove it, before the season slowly slips away.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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Major League BaseballBaseballLos Angeles DodgersSan Francisco GiantsArizona DiamondbacksA.J. EllisPittsburgh Pirates
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