CINCINNATI -- When the Los Angeles Dodgers were scraping hard to produce runs against bottom-tier pitching last week, Don Mattingly was so sick and tired of watching it he could barely stand to answer questions. He must have been tempted to daydream about what was coming.
Ah, the open road.
The Dodgers have looked far more lively in humid locales, in front of fans who disdain them, than they have at their beautiful home ballpark, where the weather is virtually perfect and the fans are looking for any little hint of life to celebrate them.
Even in the midst of the most dispiriting homestand of the season, Mattingly said he never started fantasizing about getting on a plane and leaving LAX in its tailwind.
“I was just frustrated at the end of the homestand, but I’m happy right now,” he said. “We’re playing good. We’ll try to figure out home when we get home.”
Who knows, maybe the Dodgers will even wrap those six games up with their first winning homestand of 2014. Maybe they’ll finally share the good feelings with their fans.
But for now, they’re doing everything they can to enjoy the moment. After Tuesday’s 6-1 win over the Cincinnati Reds, a win Wednesday means they would have their first four-game winning streak of 2014.
They have gone 8-3 in their past 11 road games.
Funny thing is, it has been grueling travel. They have had to sit through more than nine hours of rain delays since they started traveling east of the Rockies at the end of April. Tuesday, they had to sit two hours and five minutes as thunder and lightning shook Great American Ballpark.
Antsy to get started, Josh Beckett, the team’s oldest starting pitcher, found himself pacing around the clubhouse, then seeking a little solitude in the weight room. Like the team, he seems impervious to the annoyances of the road. He went out and pitched his finest game since his May 25 no-hitter, which, you guessed it, came on the road, in Philadelphia. Beckett held the Reds to two hits over six innings.
“Just sitting around today for two hours and trying to stay loose,” Beckett said. “I’m not 23 anymore.”
It might be the start of something big.
The Dodgers finally took a little chunk off the San Francisco Giants’ big lead the past two nights, cutting it to 7 1/2 games. Or, it might just be another three-game winning streak. They’ve seen those before only to slide back.
One thing is reasonably certain: To get to where they want to go, they’re probably going to have to win more than their current pace of 40 percent of their home games. Their fans, many of whom have no way to see them when they’re on the road because of the TV dispute, certainly hope that’s the case.