There is a vague and uncomfortable feeling of finality in the Dodger clubhouse these days. Tonight may not be just the final home game of the season for a few players, it may be their last in a Dodger home uniform.
"It's a weird situation," infielder Mickey Hatcher said Wednesday night. "I've been in it before with other (losing) teams. It's almost the end of the season, and everybody's wondering who'll be gone. You wonder if you'll be gone."
That question might also extend to the manager's office. Rumors that Tom Lasorda will be headed elsewhere next season continue to circulate, though Lasorda denies he has talked to any other teams or that he has an urgent desire to do so.
Little that transpired Wednesday night in the Dodgers' 3-0 loss to the San Francisco Giants before a crowd of 28,468 at Dodger Stadium figures to change management's thinking about the impending changes.
And since the Giants had already clinched the National League West championship earlier in the week, this one didn't mean much to them, either.
But for the record, the Giants easily won in a game that was short on excitement and long on players.
Tim Belcher, who certainly figures to have a spot in the Dodger pitching rotation in spring training, had another strong outing, but he left after seven innings, trailing, 1-0, the victim of an unearned run.
Belcher, acquired from Oakland for Rick Honeycutt, had problems with his control, walking three, but he allowed only five hits and struck out six.
The win went to Mike Krukow (5-6), who pitched six scoreless innings. The Dodgers had runners on first and third in the eighth against Joe Price, Krukow's replacement. But John Shelby grounded into an inning-ending double play.
San Francisco added two runs in the ninth off Tim Leary.
Meanwhile, Lasorda once again denied reports that he will leave the Dodgers if he is not promoted to a front-office position. The latest rumors have Lasorda going to the Chicago Cubs, either as manager or general manager.
Dallas Green, who already holds the latter position with the Cubs (as well as being president), denied rumors that the Cubs have asked Dodger owner Peter O'Malley for permission to talk to Lasorda.
"I don't do business that way," Green told WGN radio recently. "He's still under contract with the Dodgers."
Lasorda, quite used to the rumors by now, good-naturedly denied it. "I haven't talked with (the Cubs)," Lasorda said. "But it's nice to hear you are wanted. But as I've said before, I love it here. I'm grateful to Peter O'Malley for giving me 11 years in this job. I'll do whatever Peter wants me to do."
O'Malley probably would have liked a few more wins this season from the Dodgers (70-88), but it's too late for that.
Franklin Stubbs will undergo arthroscopic surgery Friday morning to repair a dislocated right shoulder, the same shoulder he hurt in August. Stubbs said he fell down a flight of stairs Wednesday morning. Before being examined by Dr. Frank Jobe Wednesday night, Stubbs said his shoulder was sore but not seriously hurt. "I feel OK," Stubbs said. Stubbs did not require surgery after dislocating his shoulder while diving for a ground ball at first base in Atlanta Aug. 2. . . . Mike Marshall also was not in the lineup. "I'm giving him the day off," Manager Tom Lasorda said. . . . Al Campanis, the former Dodger vice president, was a guest on the field and in the Dodger clubhouse before the game. Campanis talked with Giant Manager Roger Craig, then visited Lasorda for a few minutes. . . . It appears that Lasorda will be fined for his antics in Houston Tuesday night, when he talked to the dugout via radio from the press box after being ejected in the first inning by plate umpire Charlie Williams. There is a rule against participating in a game after being ejected. . . . The Giants have 14 reporters on this trip, and Craig said he figures the media coverage will increase even more as the playoffs approach. "I knew it would be this way a long time ago, and I told the (players) that," Craig said. "The more you win, the more attention you get.". . . . Dodger reliever Ken Howell, who has an injury to a joint in his right shoulder, is expected to be examined today by Jobe. Howell has not thrown since Sunday, when he felt soreness in the shoulder. The examination is expected to determine whether Howell needs surgery. . . . The Dodgers' Bob Welch (14-9) will oppose Rick Reuschel (13-8) tonight at 7 in the final Dodger home game. . . . The Dodgers will honor retiring broadcaster Jerry Doggett and retiring organist Helen Dell before tonight's game. The two have combined for 48 years of service to the Dodgers.