LOS ANGELES Maybe this was just a sneak preview, an appetizer of what might come in October. If it is, the Dodgers learned that nothing will come easily in the playoffs.
They found it out over the weekend, losing a series for the first time since June and discovering that there are teams that know how to grind out wins with strong pitching and opportunistic hitting.
For most of the past two months, that was the Dodgers. But after losing to the Boston Red Sox 8-1 on Sunday, they realized that being prepared is critical to their success down the stretch and in the postseason.
"It's a good little lesson for us," manager Don Mattingly said. "If we're going to be fortunate enough to do anything or get anywhere, that's the kind of pitching you're going to see. You're going to see teams with game plans, with veteran pitching that know what they're doing. You better have a game plan when you go up there."
Former San Diego Padre Jake Peavy held the Dodgers to three hits and just one run...