LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers have lost their last three, five of their last seven and in those five losses have scored a total of four runs, including Tuesday night's 2-1 loss to the Nationals.
But they didn't panic last year when they were eight games out of first, and they're not panicking now as they ride out a rocky stretch of the schedule against pitching-rich staffs of the Cardinals, Brewers and Nationals.
"I wouldn't say we're in a lull," said Dodgers manager Dave Roberts. "Look back at [St. Louis' Adam] Wainwright and what he did to us [six scoreless innings] and we run into [Carlos] Martinez [one run in eight innings]. I look at the video, Zach Davies [six scoreless innings], the last two nights with these two guys [Max Scherzer and Giovany Gonzalez]. Against guys that throw the ball well, you've still got to find a way to get baserunners and score runs. But, I wouldn't consider our offense in a lull."
Roberts' offense, though, definitely is missing its most significant right-handed hitter, Justin Turner, who could return from the disabled list by Friday.
But with Scherzer ringing up a season-high 14 strikeouts in seven innings, and the Dodgers finishing with a season-high 17 whiffs, some of their hitters aren't just in a lull, but a full-on slump.
John Forsythe is in an 0-for-20 slump and, in 13 games since coming off the disabled list, is 4-for-42 with 16 strikeouts, including two by Scherzer. Cody Bellinger, in the last 13 games, is 8-for-46 with 22 strikeouts, three by Scherzer. Yasmani Grandal, in the last 10 games, is 6-for-38 with 17 strikeouts, three by Scherzer. Corey Seager, who snapped out of a 3-for-23 slide with three hits Monday night, was 0-for-4 on Tuesday night. Franklin Gutierrez, who did not play Tuesday night, is in an 0-for-12 funk.
Most of the Dodgers were willing to credit Scherzer for Tuesday night's struggles.
"Disgusting," was Bellinger's summation of the opposing starter. "Pitches I've never seen before. The slider is one of the best in the game. He's got electric stuff. The slider is the hardest to pick up. It's so deceiving. Crazy. Sometimes you've just got to tip your cap."
"We weren't able to do much after the first inning," said Adrian Gonzalez, whose RBI single scored the lone unearned run off Scherzer. "He's a great pitcher and you have to be ready for fastballs and I was lucky and found a hole. Sometimes you score six or seven and sometimes you don't. I wouldn't look much into it. We're doing what we can. We're going to have our good games and our bad ones."
Roberts was disappointed that his club wasted seven strong innings from starter Brandon McCarthy, who said the blistered finger that cut short his last start after four innings held up fine.
"Scherzer is one of the best in the game, and when you get a performance like that from Mac to pretty much match him all night and to not come away with a win, it's a tough one," said Roberts.
McCarthy echoed those thoughts.
"When Max is pitching like that, the odds are long, it's a tough fight," McCarthy said. "It's not something to bemoan, you understand it, but you'd like to be able to pull out a game like that."