After the last two losses to the Mets, Mattingly talked about remaining optimistic and keeping perspective. On Saturday, a melancholy manager sat at his desk at a loss for words.
"I don't have a lot of answers," he said. "We're going to keep going, but it's some really tough days right now."
The players still aren't hanging their heads, but its been a limp to the All-Star break lately for the Dodgers. Fortunately for the team, A.J. Ellis said Mattingly and the coaching staff have great short-term memory.
"I wouldn't use the word frustration," Ellis said, trying to describe the mood. "I'd probably use more discouragement. It's kind of tough. But we have a lot of positive guys who can see the big picture really well."
Rookie Nathan Eovaldi came into the game receiving the worst run support in the league, having only gotten a meager three runs of backing in his six starts, and that number remained the same after this one.
While Eovaldi was sharp in his first five starts, his last two appearances haven't helped the Dodgers' missing offense. He gave up eight runs against San Francisco in his previous start and things didn't get much better against the Mets as Eovaldi (0-5) was tagged for five runs in 5 1/3 innings.
For a brief moment, it looked promising when Dee Gordon singled to lead off the bottom of the first and stole second. But that moment was short-lived as the Dodgers failed to record another hit until the eighth, when Scott Van Slyke and Tony Gwynn hit a pair of singles.
Before this 1-11 stretch began, the Dodgers had built up the best record in baseball thanks to comeback victories and gritty play late in games. Back then, one- and two-run deficits didn't seem like much to overcome. But now, a one-run hole feels more like a mountain than a molehill, and by the second inning the Dodgers were already trailing and on their way to their seventh straight loss.
"They weigh you down," Mattingly said about the losses piling up. "It makes it hard to recover and come back and get ready to go again tomorrow. We really don't have a choice. I think everybody right now would like to take the weekend off and take a couple days off and not show up tomorrow, but that's not a choice for us. We're going to have to come back and get ready to play."
Ike Davis started things off in the second for the Mets with a double to right, and he eventually scored on a sacrifice fly by Daniel Murphy. Three innings later, Murphy did the scoring when he doubled to lead off the fifth and came home on a Josh Thole sacrifice fly.
For the second night in a row, the Mets added insult to injury with a three-run home run, this time off the bat of Davis in the sixth to put the game out of reach for the slumping Dodgers.
Santana (6-4), who came into the game 4-0 with a 0.65 ERA lifetime against the Dodgers, did the rest of the work.
"I'll tell you what, after the second inning he got better and better and better," Mets manager Terry Collins said. "When he went along, he got much better command of his fastball and his changeup. This might be, since the no-hitter, his best outing so far."
Prior to the game, the Dodgers' organization made another big splash with the announcement that it signed first-round pick Corey Seager. But like Friday's signing of Cuban outfielder Yasiel Puig, that was a long-term move by a team in need of short-term help.
Maybe that will be Astros first baseman Carlos Lee, who said he will decide in the next day whether he wants to accept a trade to the Dodgers.
If there is any silver lining to Saturday's loss, it's that the Giants lost to keep the Dodgers only one game out of first in the National League West.
"Fortunately, the last couple of days we haven't lost some ground, so we keep biding time to get to where we're going," Mattingly said.
Wherever that is, it can't come soon enough for a Dodgers team running out of answers and positive ways to spin the mounting losses.