Iceberg! Iceberg! … or What Was That Thump?

The SS Chavez Ravine, with a new captain and crew, smartly refitted and staffed with the best money can buy, steamed out into the N.L. Schedule on May 3 with a definite goal in mind but somewhere during the cold night, they may have scraped -- just bumped, you see -- something hard and sharp and, well, we seem to be taking on water and may be sinking.

The hapless San Diego Padres, just a week ago unable to buy a hit must less a run when it was needed and apparently floating dead in the water, (much like an iceberg) collided with the Dodger ship April 30, scoring five in the ninth to tie and one in the 10th to win.

That same team, in our own 'house' mind you, broke a tight, 1-1 game open with three runs in the seventh, five more in the eighth when the Dodgers matched their output and then two more in the ninth and with an 11-5 victory in hand watched as the SS Chavez Ravine went down by the bow.

Now four games under .500, Manager Grady Little gathered his team, now sole possessor of last place, about him and pointed out that the season is very early and it is too soon to give in to frustrations that creep into any losing clubhouse.

"It's just a time to re-instill the confidence that we have in them," Little said. "Everything went well," he told the writers after the game.

The usual indications are there, however. Losing teams can't seem to get into sync -- when they hit they can't pitch and "versa-visa" as a German friend used to say, when they pitch they cant hit.

Wednesday night, they did both.

Jae Seo, fighting through a broken fingernail on his right index finger, had his second straight strong outing. Seo gave up one run on five hits with four strikeouts over six innings, the only on a run-scoring single from Padres' pitcher. But he left the game in a 1-1 tie with Dioner Navarro's solo home run the only Dodger score.

Tim Hamulack gave up a three-run home run in the top of the seventh to make it 4-1, Olmedo Saenz followed with a pinch-hit three-run homer in the bottom of the inning to tie the game before Franquelis Osoria gave up a pair of home runs without getting out of the inning, allowing five earned runs. His ERA expanded from 3.77 to 6.91.

Danys Baez continued in his funk, giving up another pair of runs in the ninth, the coupe de grace as it were.

Andre Ethier smacked his first major league dinger in the last of the ninth but most of the 33,352 in attendance well down the freeway by then.

The Dodgers bullpen ERA jumped from 3.68 to 4.55 and is 2-10, the most losses of any bullpen in the Major Leagues. The batters could manage only six hits, three of them homers.

"It's just a case of not hitting on all cylinders right now," Little said. "We've got to be better."

Dodger Blue Notes-- In a masterful piece of understatement, Little noted that lefthander Odalis Perez needed "be a little more productive." Like the children's poem, when he's good he's very. very good and when he's bad he's horrid." Now in the Dominican Republic, visiting his seriously ill mother, the club did not know when he would return and obliquely indicated his start Sunday was in doubt. The thought has begun to creep in what would happen if he would be sent to the bullpen. But at $8 million a year, that makes an expensive setup man. Does anyone have Chad Billingsley's cell phone number? …Prior to Wednesday night's game, the Dodgers observed a moment of silence and showed a highlight video in memory of the remarkably talented but star-struck reliever Steve Howe, who was killed in an auto accident last week at age 48. In the regular *M*A*S*H* report, Rafael Furcal may be back after a series of nagging injuries and feels "the best he's felt all season." However, Ricky Ledee, whose groin muscle tore off the bone on Monday night, will be out at least a month, perhaps longer.
  Score by innings
San Diego 000 010 352-11
Dodgers   001 000 301-  5

  Dodgers      ab r h bi ave
Lofton, CF      4 0 0 0 .258
Furcal, SS      4 0 1 0 .206
Garciaparra, 1B 4 0 0 0 .278
Drew, RF        4 0 1 0 .306
Kent, 2B        3 0 0 1 .183
Mueller, 3B     4 0 0 0 .274
Ethier, LF      3 2 1 1 .286
Navarro, C      3 2 2 1 .280
Seo, P          1 0 0 0 .222
  Hamulack, P   0 0 0 0 .000
  Saenz, PH     1 1 1 3 .318
  Osoria, P     0 0 0 0 .000
  Beimel, P     0 0 0 0 .000
  Baez, P       0 0 0 0 .000
    Totals     31  5  6 5 
    San Diego  43 11 17 10

  Error- Mueller.  HR- Navarro (2), Saenz 
(3), Ethier (1). RBI- Navarro (8), Saenz 3 
(15), Ethier (1). S- Seo. LOB: San Diego 10, 
Dodgers 3. SB- Drew (2). DP- (Kent, Furcal
and Garciaparra).

  Dodgers        in h r-er bb so era
Seo             6.0 5 1-1  3  4 4.85
Hamulack        1.0 2 3-3  1  1 4.15
Osoria (L, 0-2) 0.0 5 5-5  0  0 6.91
Beimel          1.0 0 0-0  0  0 0.00
Baez            1.0 5 2-2  0  0 2.45
 WP-Beimel. T-2:55. Att-33,352.