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T.J. SIMERS

0 for crying out loud: When will the Dodgers score again?

The Choking Dogs can't score and can scarcely hit as they are shut out for the third game in a row by the Giants. And with Andre Ethier injured, the outlook is increasingly bleak.

June 27, 2012|T.J. Simers

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Choking Dogs didn't score a run in the first two games here. Going back to the Angels series, it's 21 innings without scoring.

So before Wednesday's game I'm trying to persuade Vin Scully to give everyone back home a "Scooooooooooooooore!" like soccer broadcasters yell "Gooooooooooooooooal!"

What a Scully moment it would be if the Dodgers ever do score again.

I suggest the same to Spanish-language broadcaster Jaime Jarrin, who immediately launches into an "Una carrrrrrrrrrrrreeeera!" as if the Choking Dogs might score one run.

I get chills, and then I remember the Dodgers still have Juan Uribe and James Loney on the roster.

Uribe is now 0 for his last 13 entering the game, Loney 0 for 18 and Elian Herrera 0 for 19. Murderers' Row when it comes to killing a rally.

Herrera is actually only 0 for 15, but things are going so badly for the Dodgers, the PR department already has him 0 for 19 in the statistics they provide the media.

I ask GM Ned Colletti if it's time to bring back Eugenio Velez, as a reminder to Loney, Uribe and Herrera that things really can get worse. He finished last year with the Dodgers 0 for 37.

I don't know how he does it, but Colletti has a knack for finding guys who can't hit.

First inning, the Dodgers get two men on and Juan Rivera pounds a ground ball to third to start a double play. Make that 22 scoreless innings.

Andre Ethier injures an oblique muscle on a check swing. Who ever thought Ethier would be knocked out of the game before Chad Billingsley?

Ethier is replaced by Herrera, who needs his swing checked. The PR department already has Herrera pegged to go 0 for 4.

I feel bad for Manager Don Mattingly. I ask, "How do you fill out a lineup card with such stiffs?"

He says, "I'm not going to call them stiffs."

I suggest he will one day, if only privately.

"No, I'll never do it publicly," he says.

Second inning, and two Dodgers strike out. Make that 23 scoreless innings.

The Choking Dogs have scored one more run in the last nine games than the Galaxy scored goals in its last nine games.

"If we don't win another game the rest of the year we're going to be in trouble," Mattingly says, and all the reporters are writing it down.

Third inning, Billingsley hits a double off the wall, advances on a wild pitch and attempts to score on another wild pitch. But Giants catcher Hector Sanchez retrieves the ball, tosses it to Tim Lincecum,and Billingsley is tagged out.

Billingsley appears to beat the high tag, but Mattingly doesn't come out to argue. He must know the Dodgers don't have what it takes to score.

The Choking Dogs are in danger of being tied for first place after posting the best record in baseball much of the season.

Fourth inning, Jerry Hairston singles and because Herrera is so good at it, he's purposely asked to make an out. But his sacrifice bunt attempt is popped up and caught.

None of this is really troubling. The same thing happened before Frank McCourt got Manny Ramirez. Just imagine what new management is going to do with its deep pockets at the trading deadline. I'm guessing Magic Johnson is already working the phones.

Isn't it exciting, knowing the Dodgers are going to be the biggest wheelers and dealers at the deadline in a gung-ho effort to show Dodgers fans they really want to win?

Fifth inning, and Uribe strikes out on a wild pitch, but he makes it to first base. I wonder if Jarrin is yelling, "Es un milagro!" — "It's a miracle!" It allows Billingsley, the Dodgers' best hitter, to come to the plate. He strikes out.

I ask Mattingly if he thinks the Dodgers have squandered their fast start, or because of roster limitations it was unavoidable.

"I look at it like we put a lot of money in the bank early and we had to spend a lot to keep paying the bills," he says. "We're not using the credit cards yet."

Stress makes people say the strangest things.

Sixth inning, and Herrera fails again. The Dodgers' PR department has him pegged correctly.

The Giants are winning 3-0 and the Choking Dogs are about to wrap up a nine-game trip with one win.

Seventh inning, two men on, Uribe at the plate, the game on the line and Magic sends out a tweet: "Just arrived at the launch party for @tvASPIRE in NY. New Edition is going to perform & the place is packed!" Uribe will have to continue to aspire to hit the ball as he strikes out.

The Choking Dogs are 11-18 since May 28, and with Ethier hurt, who scares anyone with a bat in their hands?

Magic tweets again: "Hope Ethier is okay. We need to rally to beat these Giants. Let's go @Dodgers!"

He's obviously not watching; there is no rally in these stiffs. Where are you, Matt Kemp?

Eighth inning, and the Dodgers go out in order. Make it 29 scoreless innings.

The scoreboard here is not very encouraging. The Mets are the Dodgers' next opponent; they've scored 17 runs Wednesday against the Cubs.

Ninth inning, and Herrera makes it 0 for 18. Bobby Abreu takes a called third strike, game over and the Dodgers are 0 for San Francisco.

A Fox TV reporter puts a microphone in Mattingly's face.

"Looking for some positives, we saw some aggressive baserunning by Billingsley and Hairston," she says. "How happy are you with that kind of effort from those guys?"

Mattingly shows remarkable restraint in not choking the reporter. He says he finds nothing positive.

He's at his lowest ebb; maybe Magic will tweet with an encouraging word or pictures of his launch party.

Late word just in: It's being reported the Dodgers' equipment truck has broken down on a freeway here. The team delays its flight back to L.A. while waiting for the bats to arrive. No one seems to understand why.

t.j.simers@latimes.com

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