The Dodgers have 30 games left in the regular season and, as Manager Don Mattingly put it, "It's time. It's time to do it."
But on Thursday night, at least, the Dodgers didn't do it for the fourth time in their last five games, and they're starting to run out of time.
With a 2-0 loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks on a muggy night at Dodger Stadium, the Dodgers fell 41/2 games behind the first-place San Francisco Giants, who defeated the Houston Astros, in the National League West.
It's the Dodgers' largest deficit this season and, although the Dodgers have six games remaining against the Giants and remained 11/2 games behind in the NL wild-card race, it's a discomforting slide for the Dodgers.
Immediately after the game, Mattingly held a closed-door clubhouse meeting that lasted several minutes so that the players, he said, could discuss "where we're at and where do we want to go?"
"We've got to do better," Mattingly said. "I continue to believe in these guys," he said, but Thursday's game was "a loss that we really can't afford, and that's it."
Slugger Matt Kemp, who had a sore knee and shoulder, was sidelined and so was closer Kenley Jansen, who again has a heart ailment.
And starting pitcher Chad Billingsley is on the disabled list with a sore elbow amid questions about whether he'll return any time soon.
The Dodgers nearly got back in the game in the ninth inning when Adrian Gonzalez and Hanley Ramirez led off with singles against Arizona closer J.J. Putz.
Gonzalez then reached third base when Andre Ethier hit a ground ball that forced Ramirez at second base. But Luis Cruz flied out and Juan Rivera popped out.
As the Dodgers opened a seven-game homestand, their ace, Clayton Kershaw, took the mound having won eight of his 11 prior starts and facing a Diamondbacks team that had lost six consecutive games.
Kershaw (12-8) pitched relatively well, giving up a two-run home run to Chris Young and eight other hits while striking out nine in front of a sold-out crowd of 54,621 on broadcaster Vin Scully's bobblehead night.
But Arizona's Ian Kennedy (12-11) outdueled Kershaw and shut down the Dodgers' recently upgraded offense, giving up two hits in his 61/3 innings.
"It's my fault, if you don't get runs you don't need to give up any, either," Kershaw said. "I blinked first and Kennedy pitched great tonight."
The Dodgers threatened in the seventh inning when they had runners at first and second base with one out.
Kennedy was replaced by reliever Brad Ziegler, who got Rivera to ground into a double play that started with a sparkling backhanded catch by second baseman Aaron Hill.
The Dodgers did not get their first hit off Kennedy until Shane Victorino singled in the fourth inning.
By then they were trailing, 2-0, because Miguel Montero doubled in the top of the inning and Young followed with his home run.
Arizona threatened to score more runs in the inning with runners at second and third base and one out.
But after Kershaw intentionally walked Hill to load the bases, he got .200-hitting Jake Elmore to ground into a double play. The loss was the Dodgers' seventh in a row to Arizona.