SAN FRANCISCO -- They were never going to be the team that reminded people -- at least the few who are still alive -- of the 1927 New York Yankees. That goofy little story line, in which the Los Angeles Dodgers terrorize pitchers like the original Murderer's Row, was a byproduct of a small sample size and the magnification of April and May.
And they're not this bad either.
The Dodgers went from leading the major leagues in most power categories to scoring an average of a half run per game over the past four contests, against a dazzling array of pitchers such as Kyle Kendrick, Jorge De La Rosa and the San Francisco Giants' two past-their-prime Tims, Hudson and Lincecum.
So, here they are, fairly certain they have yet to figure out what kind of offense they actually have. Manager Don Mattingly said he doesn't think his hitters got overly enamored of the long ball and stumbled into bad habits when they were leading the majors in that category as recently as a few days ago.
Instead, what he diagnoses from this miserly stretch of hitting is a good old fashioned team slump, simple as that. Understanding what it is, he acknowledged, doesn't make it any less frustrating.
"Every year I've ever played and every year I've ever managed and every year I've ever coached, your team goes through about three of these a year, and this is no different," Mattingly said. "It's the first one we've gone through."
If you're going to go cold, as the Dodgers did near the end of their most recent homestand, the last place you want to drop by is AT&T Park, especially not when it's still in the mid-50s in May and there's a misty little drizzle and some swirling winds kicking around. That certainly doesn't figure to warm you up. Dodgers catcher Yasmani Grandal, who has been anything but cold of late, was still spitting mad after the game.
He was mad about the seventh-inning ball he tagged to center field that got knocked down by wind and drizzle and was snagged with a little hop by Angel Pagan at the wall.
"I definitely thought I got the one to center field, but that was one of the reasons I was so happy about getting out of Petco," Grandal said, referencing one of the few major league stadiums with the home run-dousing ability of AT&T Park.
And the Dodgers are convinced the Giants' pitchers know how to pitch to this stadium. The evidence certainly suggests Lincecum does. With a fastball that rarely threatens the 90-mph barrier any longer, he has managed 22 straight scoreless innings here. The Dodgers barely scratched out a threat over seven innings against the petite right-hander Wednesday during a 4-0 Giants win. Grandal got to third base with nobody out once, but the Dodgers even managed to botch that opportunity by failing to hit a ball out of the infield.
"Oh yeah. I mean, it's a pitcher's ballpark and they're very smart," Grandal said. "Lincecum has two Cy Youngs for a reason. Hudson has made his career. They're very smart and they kind of feed off each other."
When the rain started to come down in the sixth and seventh, Dodgers pitcher Brett Anderson had finally found his element. He had pitched through downpours in Denver and Los Angeles in his previous outings, so he kind of had a good idea how to handle a little moisture by that point. The news reports suggest there is a terrible drought in California, but Anderson hasn't seen much evidence of it.
"It's crazy. If there's a drought somewhere, I need to go there. Is it the Sahara, Mojave? I brought the rain to L.A., too," Anderson said. "If you're in need of some rain, send me there and it's bound to happen at some point."
If the Dodgers are looking for a little drought relief for their offense, they've probably come to the wrong place. Thursday they have the delightful assignment of facing Madison Bumgarner, an ornery left-hander with a 94-mph fastball, a scary three-quarters arm angle and a pedigree of rising to occasions. Of course, they've got Clayton Kershaw going, who -- by his standards -- is also in a little slump. Something's got to give at some point, right?
"When you go through a stretch where you're not scoring any runs, it puts pressure on everyone," Mattingly said. "We just need a couple of big hits."