When you lose nine of 11 games to your nemesis, of course, it tends to be mentioned. Naturally the Dodgers have been hearing plenty of questions about their struggles with their northern enemy.
“Oh, I don’t listen to the rhetoric,” said Manager Don Mattingly. “It’s right in front of us what’s happened with them this year, but they’re going to be a portion of our season in terms of games played. Obviously, we know who they are and what they do. We know that this division is going to be tough. And that’s not going away.
“I can’t get caught in the seven-day windows or five-day windows. I got to look at the whole season and where we’re going and where we’re trying to go. I know everybody gets caught up in those small areas of time that I just can’t allow myself to get into.”
For the Dodgers, losing to the Giants is not the same as losing to any other club. Not when they are your historic rival, not when they’re the team closing in on your division lead. If the Dodgers lose Sunday and are -- again -- swept by the Giants, they’ll fall a half game back of the evil Orange and Black.
That could not be good for the psyche of a struggling team.
“We fell out once before already this year,” Mattingly said. “What we’re going to be over the course of time is still going to determine this division. Today is not going to decide this division, win or lose for either us or them. But it’s obviously a game you want to win. You want to win every day.”
The Dodgers fell out of the lead for one day on May 29, slipping a half game back of the Giants. Then San Francisco lost five consecutive games and the Dodgers have been in first ever since. Or at least, heading into Sunday’s game.