SAN DIEGO -- At a time when it appears he will miss the postseason as a manager for the first time since 1993, the Los Angeles Dodgers' Joe Torre said before Wednesday night's game with the San Diego Padres at Petco Park that he believes much of the responsibility for the team's disappointing season lies with him.
"I wish I could have been more help in finding something that would have made a difference, because that is my job," Torre said. "You go to sleep every night thinking what conversation you can have with this guy or that guy and have the light bulb go on. ... It's my responsibility. It wouldn't be fair if I sat back and said, 'Well, this guy isn't doing this and this guy isn't doing this, so it's not my fault.' It is my responsibility to try to help them through the bad times and make them better.
"I have to try to help them through it."
Torre didn't hoard all the blame for himself, mind you. He did acknowledge that certain players have allowed frustration with their own performances to feed on itself.
"Things are OK, and everybody is out here playing and working hard," Torre said. "But there is frustration, especially with [Andre] Ethier and with Matt Kemp, because they certainly know that where they're situated in the middle [of the order], they need to be more consistent. You have certain guys like ([Scott] Podsednik and [Ryan] Theriot and Jamey Carroll who just go out and play hard all the time and then come back to the dugout wanting to know who won or lost. And they easily dismiss a bad at-bat.
"There are some other guys who are going to have to learn that failure is a part of success, and dealing with it is something we need to do a better job of."
Kershaw to get more rest
Although Torre said he still doesn't plan to put any restrictions on prized left-hander Clayton Kershaw for the rest of the season, he is making one concession: The Dodgers' starting rotation will be juggled so that Kershaw will get an extra day of rest before three of his four remaining starts instead of before two of them.
That means that instead of pitching on Sunday at Houston, the next time his turn in the rotation comes up, Kershaw will be pushed back to Tuesday night at San Francisco (the Dodgers are off on Monday). Vicente Padilla, who would have pitched on Saturday night at Houston, will now pitch Sunday, with rookie John Ely slotted in for a spot start Saturday.
Torre said this wasn't in any way a concession that the Dodgers are no longer in contention for a playoff spot, even though they are 10 games out in the National League West. He did indicate, however, that the Dodgers need to put their best foot forward against opponents who are in contention simply to maintain the integrity of the playoff race.
"It's a double-edged sword here," Torre said. "We wanted to pitch Kershaw against the Giants. Teams that at this point are in better shape than we are, we just feel that is the fair thing to do."
First baseman James Loney and right fielder Ethier, both of whom are left-handed hitters and have been slumping mightily of late, were out of the lineup against Padres rookie lefty Cory Luebke. Reed Johnson started in right, and Russell Mitchell, who was called up from the minors for the first time this week, made his first major league start at first base.
Tony Jackson covers the Dodgers for ESPNLosAngeles.com. Follow him on Twitter.