LOS ANGELES -- Before Friday's game, manager Don Mattingly stressed the importance of perspective and realizing there is a light at the end of the tunnel with the return of the team's 2-3-4 hitters on the horizon.
After a 9-0 loss to knuckleballer R.A. Dickey and the Mets, that tunnel couldn't seem longer as the Dodgers were defeated for a season-high sixth straight time and shut out for the fourth time in five days.
But despite his team being held scoreless in 47 of its last 48 innings, Mattingly stuck to his story about realizing perspective, although the metaphor changed slightly.
"You go through rocky points in the year and I think my job as a manager and our job as a staff is to make sure we see the light," he said. "There's a lighthouse out there somewhere that we're heading for. No matter what kind of water we are in at this point, we have to keep steering."
For the Dodgers, that light is the All-Star break, which is nine games away, and the upcoming returns of Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier and Mark Ellis. But with the way things have been going, those can be a long nine games as the Dodgers are in the midst of their worst losing streak since September 2010.
"The last 10 have been really long, if it winds up being like that, it'd be a really bad thing," Mattingly said.
"I don't plan on losing nine games," he added earlier.
But things haven't been looking promising on the field as the Dodgers appear in need of help quickly, whether from the return of their 2-3-4 hitters or outside reinforcement.
Earlier Friday, the team announced the signing of a 21-year-old Cuban outfielder Yasiel Puig, but he won't be ready to join the big league club for at least another year or two. Trade rumors surrounding the Houston Astros swirled Friday night regarding Carlos Lee and Jed Lowrie, but those could wind up just being more rumors added to the mill.
"Every day we are talking about different things, but at this point we're just hearing different names and different guys and different scenarios," Mattingly said. "It's just talk."
For now, Los Angeles will have to make do with hopes of righting the metaphorical ship. It appeared to Mattingly the team was headed in that direction after scoring a pair of runs Thursday to snap a 33-inning scoreless streak, but that didn't carry over with Dickey on the mound. The knuckleballer, who threw one-hitters in two of his last three games before Friday, worked his way through the Dodgers' lineup with ease for his Major League-leading 12th win.
"You go up there and obviously his ball is moving around, so you have to hope you can catch it when it's up in the strike zone or hit it before it has any movement to it," said Dodgers starter Aaron Harang, who got the only hit off Dickey until A.J. Ellis knocked a single in the seventh.
Dickey struck out 10 with his hard knuckleball while surrendering only three hits and one walk in eight innings, as he approached Friday's game whether the Dodgers were full strength or not.
"Every hitter that gets in that batter's box is a big league baseball player, and they've earned the right to be in that batter's box," Dickey said. "And because of that, you take every one of them seriously, whether it's Kemp or Ethier or [Jerry] Hairston or [Bobby] Abreu or [Dee] Gordon, it doesn't matter. On any given night a team can beat you."
The Dodgers' offense struggled, but Harang didn't fare much better in this one. He was hit hard in 5 2/3 innings, giving up five runs -- four earned -- on seven hits and four walks. He was taken out after hitting Ruben Tejada to put runners on the corners in the sixth.
After escaping a jam in the first inning, Harang got into trouble in the third, when Torres reached on a fielding error by Hairston and Tejada followed with a single. Torres went on to score on David Wright's single while Tejada scored on an Ike Davis sacrifice fly to left field.
With the way the Dodgers' offense has been performing, the two runs were all the Mets needed, but they weren't done. The team added to the lead with three runs in the fifth on a pair of two-out RBI hits by Lucas Duda and Daniel Murphy.
New York tacked on four more in the seventh on a three-run homer by Murphy and an RBI single by Tejada off reliever Shawn Tolleson.
Despite the loss, the Dodgers remained one game behind the Giants in the National League West after San Francisco lost to the Reds.
As to whether the Dodgers are at the point where they need something now to stay afloat, Mattingly quickly squashed that idea.
"No. Are you kidding?" he asked.
"There's a lot of baseball to be played," he said, citing Atlanta, St. Louis and Tampa Bay from last year. "This thing is not even close to being over. We're not even to the break yet. There's a long way to go and we're going to be talking pennant race for a long time."
Alex Angert is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.