It can be a miserably long season, six grueling months with precious few days off, playing 162 games without a clock.
Bodies break down, spirits lag, the sun bakes. Yet it’s not always the strongest teams that survive but the deepest.
The Dodgers liked their depth last year led by Skip Schumaker and Nick Punto, and there was understandable concern when both signed elsewhere in the off-season.
But the Dodgers beat the San Diego Padres, 8-6, on Tuesday night, getting key contributions not only from one of their regulars, Carl Crawford, but from one of their main reserves, Justin Turner.
Crawford continued his recent hot play, acting like a guy with no interest in sharing left field with Andre Ethier, going three for three with three runs batted in, three runs scored and a stolen base; he drove in two with his fifth home run, his first homer since May 23.
In his last nine games, Crawford is 16 for 32.
And with Juan Uribe on the disabled list for an unknown period with a strained hamstring, Turner is now the Dodgers’ main third baseman.
He went two for four with a pair of doubles, two RBIs and two runs. On the season, he is hitting a career-high .308.
It was enough to make a winner out of Kevin Correia in his second start for the Dodgers. Correia went the serviceable route, allowing four runs in five innings on eight hits and a walk. He struck out six, throwing 81 pitches.
Correia, acquired from the Minnesota Twins on Aug. 9, is 2-0 as a Dodger and 7-13 overall.
He got off to a rough start when he surrendered a three-run homer to Jedd Gyorko in the first, but kept the Padres pretty much at bay until giving up three two-out hits in the fifth for another run.
The Dodgers treated San Diego starter Ian Kennedy pretty much the same way they have for the past two seasons. Even spotted the early 3-0 lead, he couldn’t hold the Dodgers back.
They scored twice in the second on Turner’s first double and a single by Erisbel Arruebarrena, who was called up earlier Tuesday.
They went ahead with three more in a somewhat wild fourth. Matt Kemp led off with a double, and after Crawford walked, Turner hit his second double. It looked as if center fielder Abraham Almonte might have had a play on the ball, so Kemp held up, though a little too close to the bag.
By the time the drive got past Almonte’s glove, Crawford was right on Kemp’s fanny and chased him, only a step back, to third. Kemp had no choice to but to try for home, making it on a nice slide when he swiped the plate with his left hand. An A.J. Ellis fly sacrificed Crawford home.
The Dodgers scored one more in the fifth when Kemp doubled and Crawford singled, and then two more in the seventh on Crawford’s home run.
Over the two past seasons, the Dodgers are 6-1 in games started by Kennedy.
The victory snapped a three-game losing streak for the Dodgers. They have not lost four consecutive games all season.