While the Major League season may be a marathon, and not a sprint, a tweaked ankle still stings at any distance. Such was the case for Los Angeles on Sunday night, as the Dodgers positive weekend took a turn for the miserable over two painful innings.

To make matters worse, a handful of roster staples played a part in souring the evening, and the club’s big time series with the Yankees. Now a team that stood just two outs away from a much needed spark must pick up the pieces following a “how’d that happen” ending.

Joe Torre’s men lost a game, and any sign of momentum, in their 8-6 heartbreaker at Chavez Ravine. The team is almost more of a mystery now then they were on opening day. The Dodgers still have plenty of questions on the table as they forge ahead toward the second half of the season.

The standings and statistics paint a less than favorable picture. It’s win now or forever hold third place time for Los Angeles. We’ll learn how this team navigates through the peaks and valleys of a season as they hope to shake off a real gut puncher.

In the here and now, Jonathan Broxton’s rocky ninth inning, James Loney’s uncharacteristic mental lapse at first base, George Sherrill’s hanger to AL batting leader Robinson Cano, and some heated player conduct left the home crowd faithful stunned, perplex, and disappointed.

Unfortunately for the Dodgers and their followers, pro-Yankees chants drowned out any true blue words of encouragement, as New York closer Mariano Rivera shut the door on yet another one of his dominant outings. To be fair, many LA fans probably hustled to the parking lot before Broxton took the ball in the ninth.

Who could blame them? With the Dodgers spotting the usually reliable Broxton a 6-2 lead, beating traffic seemed like the right call over witnessing a ho-hum end to what appeared to be a one-sided LA victory. Although Broxton struggled on Saturday, investing in him is still a good bet.

As the flood gates opened in the top of the last frame, where the bottom of New York’s lineup clipped, and tipped, and fought off every pitch Broxton threw their way, the big closer just didn’t have it. No other explanation needed. He battled with his C-level stuff and the Yankees hitters didn’t give him an inch.

And James Loney didn’t give the pitcher a hand.

Loney’s miscue, where he fielded a hot grounder and stepped on first before throwing home, when the immediate play was to the plate, puzzled anyone who’s ever watched the man play defense. The momentary gaffe allowed speedster Curtis Granderson to cross home, tying the score at 6-6 in the process.

There’s not much to say after surrendering a four run loss at home. There’s even less to say after surrendering a go-ahead two-run blast just an inning later. The Dodgers couldn’t muster any magic in their last half.

Throw in Garrett Anderson and Russell Martin’s ejections for arguing balls and strikes with home plate umpire Chris Guccione and that’s a pretty tough night for any squad. They dropped the game and appeared none too pleased in doing so.

Lost in the commotion are all the things LA did right for eight and a half innings. They manufactured runs and fed off a stellar performance from young gun starter Clayton Kershaw. Sunday’s early positives add some salt to the wound when looking at the grand scheme of things.

The numbers don’t lie, which is a big problem for Dodgertown.

They’re 3-7 over the past 10 games, third in the division, three games behind the wild card leading Mets, and five games behind the streaking San Diego Padres in the NL West. Not a whole lot to brag about behind those stats.

There’s little time to reflect on the loss, as LA now flies to San Francisco for a tremendously important three game showdown with the Giants. The series winner will also hold solo second place in the division as they leave AT&T Park on Wednesday afternoon.

While there’s plenty of baseball left, an agitating collapse against a big time opponent, where the visiting team’s fans took over the stadium, hurts all the same.

The Dodgers can still make a strong run at the postseason if they right the ship by the All-Star break on July 12. Until then, though, nothing’s certain for this talented, yet undefined roster.

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