Dodgers shortstop Jerry Hairston forces out Colorado's D.J. LeMahieu… (Doug Pensinger / Getty Images )
DENVER — Their franchise player is out for a minimum of four weeks. Their lineup consists of Andre Ethier and a band of journeymen and mid-level prospects. And their season-worst losing streak reached five games Friday night with a crushing 13-3 defeat to the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field.
How the Dodgers respond to this crisis could define their season.
"We have to overcome it," veteran second baseman Jerry Hairston Jr. said. "I think we will. We've got a resilient bunch."
At 32-20, they also have the best record in baseball, still. But that didn't show Friday night. The Dodgers committed four errors, their most this season.
"It was the sloppiest game we've had," Manager Don Mattingly said.
And they were as offensively impotent as they were in their previous four losses, all to the Milwaukee Brewers.
Ethier was the only starter Friday who was in the Dodgers' opening-day lineup. With Ethier batting third in place of the sidelined Matt Kemp, Hairston batted cleanup for the first time in his 15 major league seasons.
Three of the Dodgers' starters began their seasons in triple A: third baseman Ivan De Jesus, first baseman Scott Van Slyke and left fielder Alex Castellanos.
The Dodgers grounded into two double plays, raising their total over their last three games to nine.
The Dodgers are looking for reinforcements but might not get them any time soon. General Manager Ned Colletti said he has been contacting other teams for the last month to inquire about potential trades. Kemp's injury might have increased the Dodgers' desire to add a capable hitter, but striking a such a deal requires much more than that.
"You still can't create something out of thin air," Colletti said.
With two wild-card playoff spots available in each league, middling teams are expected to wait longer before becoming sellers. Any team open to making a trade with a team in need such as the Dodgers will probably ask for a high return.
Ethier isn't counting on any outside help. "We're going to have to take care of it ourselves," he said.
Doing so will require them to clean up their play.
Two throwing errors in the second inning — one by De Jesus and another by catcher Matt Treanor — led to two runs for the Rockies.
Castellanos drove in the first run of his career with a fourth-inning triple to bring the Dodgers to within 2-1, but they gave back the run immediately.
Chris Capuano started the bottom of the fourth inning by walking Michael Cuddyer. Then Capuano was slow to cover first base on Todd Helton's grounder to second baseman Hairston, who made a wild throw that allowed Cuddyer to reach third. Cuddyer scored on when Jordan Pacheco grounded into a double play and the Rockies were up by two runs again, 3-1.
Hairston was charged with another error in Colorado's four-run, four-hit sixth. The Dodgers trailed, 8-2.
After the game, Hairston expressed frustration with the schedule. The Dodgers played Thursday night in Los Angeles and didn't get into their hotel rooms until around 5 a.m.
"In this day and age in this game, that can't happen," Hairston said. "It's unfortunate. I'm just a little irritated by that right now. Playing in the big leagues is hard enough as it is."
But the schedule won't let up. The Dodgers will fly cross-country to Philadelphia after the series at Coors Field concludes Sunday. Four days after that, they will travel across the country again, to Seattle.