This is turning into a special season for the Dodgers.
Special the way their 91-loss season in 2005 was special. Or their 99-loss season in 1992.
Just when you think their situation can't become any worse, it somehow does.
The Dodgers descended to new depths Friday night at Dodger Stadium when they were beaten, 7-3, by the worst team in baseball.
The Houston Astros had won only two of their previous 13 games and were 25-45 overall, but they battered Ted Lilly for six runs and eight hits in 51/3 innings. Astros starter Brett Myers came in with a 2-6 record and 5.03 earned-run average, but he threw a complete game, giving up four hits.
The defeat was the Dodgers' fourth in a row and seventh in nine games. They are nine games under .500, the lowest they've been since the end of the 2005 season.
"They can snowball, that's for sure," Manager Don Mattingly said. "I've been on a couple of those clubs, too. That's going to be up to us for that not to happen."
But even the 2005 Dodgers, who featured Hee-Seop Choi and Jason Phillips, were 34-37 through 71 games.
The 2011 Dodgers are 31-40, the same mark they had at this point in that epic 1992 season.
"There's no question we need to get it going tomorrow," Lilly said. "None of us expect any other club to feel sorry for us."
The Dodgers jumped ahead, 1-0, Friday when Matt Kemp's sacrifice fly in the first inning drove in Dee Gordon. But they wouldn't score again until the ninth inning, when Andre Ethier cleared the center-field wall for a two-run home run.
Myers completed the game in only 98 pitches.
"That's crazy," Mattingly said. "We have to make guys work harder than that."
The inability to hit is nothing new for the Dodgers, who have been afflicted with this problem for most of the season.
Now, though, they're also having trouble pitching.
The Dodgers' starters have posted a 5.40 ERA this month. In the team's 15 games in June, the starter has pitched into the seventh inning only three times.
Lilly started well, limiting Houston to a run and four hits in the first five innings.
"I was throwing the ball as well as I have all year," he said.
Until the sixth inning, when the Astros scored five runs and knocked Lilly out of the game.
Jeff Keppinger led off with a ground-rule double to left and later scored on a single by Carlos Lee to put the Astros ahead, 2-1.
Clint Barmes doubled down the right-field line with the bases loaded to drive in two runs and increase the Astros' lead to 4-1.
Lilly intentionally walked Carlos Corporan to reload the bases and was replaced by Josh Lindblom.
Jason Bourgeois hit a ground ball to second baseman Aaron Miles, who tried for an inning-ending force out but overthrew shortstop Dee Gordon. Bourgeois was credited with an RBI hit, Miles with an error that allowed the final run to score.
However this season ends, the Dodgers are unlikely to replicate the achievements of the 1905 Brooklyn Superbas, which remains the franchise's gold standard for incompetence. Under the stewardship of owners Charles Ebbets, Henry Medicus, Ferdinand Abell and Ned Hanlon, that team lost 104 of 152 games and finished 56 1/2 games out of first place.
The 1905 club won only 21 of its first 71 games.