A 5 1/2-game lead in the division has vanished along with the offense, which just about hit bottom Tuesday night in a 1-0 loss to the Cubs in 10 innings. That wasted another masterful Zack Greinke start as the Dodgers have lost seven of the last nine.
Greinke remained winless since May 5 despite six scoreless innings against the Cubs, this on the heels of seven scoreless innings against the Rangers. He is 0-2 with seven no-decisions since his last victory. His ERA on the season is 1.70, but the Dodgers have scored only four runs in his last four starts.
"I don't worry about it," Greinke said of the lack of support. "I just think our team is good, and by the end of the year, if everybody does their job, we'll be all right. We have good players. It's easy to have faith in them."
Greinke said he kept the Cubs at bay by not making mistakes, but they made him work even if they didn't score, running up his pitch count to 111 through six innings with "really good at-bats."
The Dodgers couldn't say the same about their night vs. Cubs righty Jason Hammel, but Mattingly was still optimistic.
"The biggest thing that I do is trust these guys," said Mattingly. "I trust what we're going to be able to do. I acknowledge we haven't been scoring consistently. But if you think I'm going to sit here and think our offense is not going to be any good and we're not going to be good enough to win, I'm not there. I trust our guys."
The Dodgers had only three hits, one of them a popup triple by Yasiel Puig that two Cubs outfielders lost in the sixth-inning sky. But the Dodgers didn't bring Puig home, nor could they cash in Alberto Callaspo's leadoff double in the third inning or Adrian Gonzalez's two-out single in the ninth.
Los Angeles is 12-20 away from Dodger Stadium a year after going an MLB-best 49-32 on the road. For the first time since last August, the Dodgers have lost back-to-back games started by Clayton Kershaw and Greinke.
Juan Nicasio, Adam Liberatore and Yimi Garcia threw scoreless innings to get the Dodgers to the 10th, when Joel Peralta made his first appearance since being sidelined by a neck injury on April 24.
"I didn't want to put him in that spot, but he's the right guy, the bottom of the order and a right-handed spot," Mattingly said.
Peralta allowed a leadoff single to former Dodger Mike Baxter, and J.P. Howell started to warm up. Matt Szczur reached base on an infield single, and Howell sat down and closer Kenley Jansen began warming up. Peralta walked pinch-hitter Dexter Fowler, and Mattingly brought in his closer with the bases loaded and no outs, not to win a game but to not lose one.
Addison Russell's sharp bouncer was fielded by first baseman Gonzalez, who bobbled before getting the out at home. Mattingly then went with a five-man infield, bringing in left fielder Andre Ethier to play second base and hoping for a ground ball from Chris Denorfia. But Denorfia's long sacrifice fly to Joc Pederson scored Szczur with the walk-off run.