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Friday, August 31, 2012
'If we can't put wins together, it's not going to matter'

By Mark Saxon

Hanley Ramirez
After another frustrating loss to the Diamondbacks, the Dodgers weren't in the mood to say much.

LOS ANGELES -- It's always quiet in major league clubhouses after losses. Managers, coaches and team leaders don't want to hear a lot of laughter or idle chit-chat.

On Friday night, it didn't look as if anybody in the Dodgers' clubhouse had much to say anyway. The quiet in the room had an ominous, strained quality to it, as if the frustration of the team was beginning to smother sounds before they formed.

It was a bit of a contrast from the night before when manager Don Mattingly called a team meeting and got a few things off his chest.

You could faintly hear the fireworks beginning to erupt above ground Friday. The rest was a dull silence.

The Dodgers know what's happening. A pennant race is taking shape with them just holding on for dear life. The Dodgers came back from a 3-0 deficit Friday but stalled again and lost 4-3 to the Arizona Diamondbacks in 11 innings. This thing keeps get dangled in front of their faces, and they lunge and come up with fistfuls of air.

Everybody the Dodgers are chasing lost Friday night, and they couldn't gain an inch. If that doesn't get to you, you don't care.

"If we can't put wins together, it's not really going to matter," Mattingly said. "We're going to have to put wins together and take care of our own business. That's pretty much where we're at.

"This thing's far from over. That being said, we talk about it all the time. We need to get on that run. There are a lot of teams thinking they can be that team, so we've got to do that and be that team."

With more than a month's worth of baseball left to play -- and with last season's examples of late-September collapses fresh on everyone's minds -- it's way too early to make any sweeping declarations about the Dodgers' chances. All they really need is to gain a little momentum, and they could easily steamroll past the teams they need to pass.

A 4 1/2-game deficit in the division isn't overwhelming when they play the San Francisco Giants six times. A 1 1/2-game deficit before September is hardly worth mentioning.

There's still plenty of time left for some magic. There's not a lot of time left for these awkward silences.