Dodgers right fielder Andre Ethier takes a cut against the Giants in the… (Jeff Chiu / Associated Press )
Down they go, down into depths unimaginable just a few weeks ago, down where light is reduced to a flicker.
The Dodgers were shut out, 3-0, Wednesday for a historic third consecutive game by the Giants, caught atop the National League West, beaten by a pitcher who hadn’t won in his last 10 starts … and that wasn’t even their worst news of the day.
Andre Ethier strained his left oblique in the first inning, left the game and will probably be out for an extended period.
That leaves the Dodgers without their top two position players in a lineup that already wasn’t harkening memories of the ’27 Yankees. Matt Kemp remains on the disabled list with a hamstring injury and is not expected back until sometime after the All-Star break in mid-July. Position players who suffer an oblique injury in the rib cage are typically on the DL for a month.
Meanwhile, on the field the Dodgers have been held scoreless the last 30 consecutive innings. It was the first time the Los Angeles Dodgers had been shut out by one team in three consecutive regular-season games. The Brooklyn Dodgers suffered the same fate in 1937.
This time the Dodgers could not score against beleaguered Tim Lincecum, the former two-time Cy Young winner who has been a complete mess this season.
Lincecum entered the game with a record of 2-8 and an earned-run average of 6.07. He had not won a game since April.
But these current Dodgers could give life to a dead pitcher. Lincecum held the Dodgers scoreless in his seven innings, limiting them to four hits.
The Dodgers almost scored in the third inning, and actually might have, but Chad Billingsley — who had doubled and took third base on a wild pitch — tried to come home on a second Lincecum wild pitch.
But the ball ricocheted directly off the backstop to catcher Hector Sanchez, who fired back to Lincecum covering the plate. Lincecum applied the tag to the sliding Billingsley. Replays indicated Billingsley might have had a foot on the plate before the tag, but the way things are going for the sinking Dodgers these days, they’d almost be stunned to get that call.
The three-game sweep allowed the Giants to catch the Dodgers for the lead in the NL West at 43-33.
For the Dodgers, the game ended a disastrous nine-game trip that saw them win only one game. They were swept in the Bay Area by both the Giants and A’s.
The Giants had not shut out a team in a series of three or more games since 1954.
Billingsley actually pitched pretty well for the Dodgers, but with the offense again MIA, it went for naught.
Billingsley (4-7) went six innings, giving up three runs on nine hits, striking out seven and walking three.
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