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Now the Dodgers face a new opponent -- overwhelming frustration

May 20, 2011 |  7:11 am

Llhaw1nc Frustration.

An enemy unto itself. It can hover over a team, an unwanted shroud that almost leads to subconscious expectation of failure.

The Dodgers are flailing now, stuck in one of those ruts all teams go through, which never makes it any easier while it's happening.

The Dodgers are getting strong starting pitching, but just can’t do anything right offensively. They don’t have a lot to work with right now, but even when things hint at going well, they never seem to go quite well enough.

"I think we feel a sense of frustration right now,’’ said manager Don Mattingly. "Guys are continuing to fight, but it’s frustrating at this point. We need to get over that hump.’’

Thursday offered the latest frustrating loss, the Dodgers unable to do much of anything with San Francisco’s Madison Bumgarner, who came in 0-6 and left within one out of throwing his first complete game.

Bumgarner threw well, but not really special. He was hardly overpowering, but in keeping with the theme, he was frustrating.

He had held the Dodgers to just four hits and was leading 3-0 entering the ninth, when a two-out single by Rod Barajas and double by Jerry Sands scored the Dodgers’ first, and as it would turn out, only run.

That sent the call to Giants closer Brian Wilson, who was unusually wild. He walked pinch-hitters Jay Gibbons and James Loney to load the bases.

Jamey Carroll, who is doing everything but hitting with runners in scoring position (2 for 24), had a terrific at-bat before sending a low line drive to right. Most nights, that’s a hit.

But Nate Schierholtz was playing the light-hitting Carroll shallow. He sprinted in and made the diving catch.

"That gets by him, it goes to the wall and we win the game,’’ Mattingly said. "That being said, it didn’t happen. At that point, everything seemed to turn to frustration.’’

Chad Billingsley has been supported by a total of three runs in his last four starts.

"I think Bills was frustrated tonight,’’ Mattingly said. "He gave up a couple of runs and really fought it.’’

Said Billingsley: "I walked four, I hit two. I didn’t have the control I would have liked to have had.’’

As you would expect, it was an almost eerily quiet clubhouse after Thursday’s defeat, the Dodgers’ fifth in six games. Frustration was seemed almost tangible.

"That’s really going to be my job, and the coaches’ job,’’ Mattingly said. "We have to fight this.’’

-- Steve Dilbeck

Photo: Los Angeles Dodgers' Jamey Carroll reacts after lining out to right field to end their baseball game against the San Francisco Giants, Thursday in L.A. The Giants won 3-1. Credit: Mark J. Terrill / AP