The sellout crowds and media hoopla that surrounded Barry Bonds’ visit to Dodger Stadium prevented the Dodgers from looking past the three games with the last-place Giants to this weekend’s series with the Arizona Diamondbacks, which will determine who goes into the first full week in August leading the National League West.
Not that there was much danger of that happening anyway, Manager Grady Little said.
“Every game is big for us right now,” he said Thursday. “We’re drawing focus on this game today. And then when this one’s over we’ll start thinking about that one tomorrow.
“We’re out there to try to play one game today and see how we can do. After that game’s over, we’ll go back in the clubhouse, see how we did and then we’ll start getting ready for tomorrow.”
The Dodgers have won seven of nine games with the Diamondbacks this season, losing only to Brandon Webb, who will start Sunday against Brad Penny. But Arizona comes into the series red hot, having won 10 of its last 12 games.
Jeff Kent’s strained hamstring continues to improve, trainer Stan Conte said, but the team still isn’t sure when the veteran second baseman will be back in the lineup.
“It’s really the old cliche: day to day,” Conte said. “We’ve got four days invested in getting this better. We don’t want to risk losing that by rushing him.”
Kent, who hasn’t played since tweaking the hamstring running to first base in the ninth inning of Sunday’s game in Colorado, has no trouble fielding or hitting, but Conte said he still has trouble running.
“He’s got to feel comfortable and under control,” the trainer said.
Kent, who has reached base in his last 38 games, hit a baseball-best .447 in July, making his absence even more noticeable for a team struggling to score.
“I doubt if he’s going to do that every month,” Little said. “We know this guy can hit. But to ask that much of him every month, I think that’s a little bit out of the question.
“If he falls 20 or 30 points that’ll be fine.”
The Dodgers distributed Russell Martin bobblehead dolls Thursday, and the All-Star catcher said that, as bobbleheads go, these aren’t bad.
“It’s all right,” he answered when asked if the dolls captured his likeness. “I had one in Jacksonville in double A. But that one didn’t look like me.”
Martin equaled a 105-year-old franchise record for steals by a catcher when he stole second base in the third inning Wednesday, one of four bases the Dodgers swiped on the night. That stolen base was the 18th -- in 21 tries -- by Martin, matching Con Daily’s 1892 mark. . . . Wednesday’s win also improved the Dodgers’ record in August to 88-53 (.624) since 2002, best in the National League over that span. Last year the Dodgers went 21-7 in August, their best record for the month since moving to L.A. from Brooklyn in 1958.