The night after lightning struck (in bunches) for the Dodgers, it struck again, this time in the other direction. Monday night, it took four different Dodgers four whacks in a row to cluster four runs and create one of the team's most memorable comebacks ever. Come back in the game, get back in the lead.

Tuesday night, it took just one Brett Tomko appearance. Dodgers lose. Just as quickly as the Dodgers had recaptured first place, it had lost it again.

In three of the last four games, the division contending Dodgers have given up 11, 10 and 10 runs. The 1927 Yankees, Connie Mack's pre-fire sale A's, and even the Boys of Summer could not win with this sort of pitching. Nobody in baseball history has been able to.

A team with such pitching, particularly under pressure, has to change its pitching, its pitchers. Its too late for this season. But it isn't too late to begin for the future.

The Dodgers pitching staff has to be radically overhauled. The quicker the better.

The team's pitching focus has to change. Its recruiting has to change. Its trading plans have to change. Its teaching program has to change. Its pitching coaches have to change.

The Dodgers simply have no choice, if they are to build a contending team, than to put many if not all of its minor league dandies on the market for pitching.

Dodgers Stadium has always been a pitchers park. It is a sign of just how bad the current pitching is that it appears for all the world like a hitters' bandbox.

The Dodgers have six of their eight field positions filled by hitters with double figures in home runs. Not good, but not bad. They lead the league in batting average. But with the Dodgers woeful pitching record, particularly in September, it isn't and wont be good enough.

Its unlikely stopgap Aaron Sele will be back.

Its unlikely Gio Carrara will be back.

The Dodgers have seen enough of Tim Hamaluk.

Only Brett Tomko's inflated two year contract means he might be back (because nobody will want him, particularly at that price).

How much of the old Eric Gagne can come back is a big, big question.

When Yhency Brazoban might return is another big question.

Until they pitch their way back, you figure both guys maybe at best.

The Dodgers have been praised for their resurrected farm system. But even a moderate glance shows the progress has been in hitters, not pitchers.

There are few secrets in baseball, so the Dodgers search for pitching strength is harder than it used to be. Other teams, knowing the Dodgers desperate pitching situation, will demand big value to lesser value.

And Ned Colletti knows it.

If a team with a $15 million total big league payroll, the Marlins, can come up with young pitchers, the Dodgers can.

If a team with a small payroll like the Twins can find pitchers, and boy they have found some dandies, the Dodgers can.

If one of baseball's most recent terrible teams, the Tigers, can rebound by finding young pitchers, the Dodgers can. And that's the task. Will they? That's another story and one to be determined in the off season.

An aside: While many think while the Dodgers may just lose out to the Padres in regular season play, they are a sure lock for the wild card berth. They are not.

As this morning's sun came up, the Philadelphia Phillies are only a game back, coming quick, and have the momentum the Dodgers do not seem to have.

Usually, momentum will play out better than miracles. And the Dodgers have had their miracle.

Grady Little is stubborn.

Brett Tomko is his man for the 6th or 7th inning. Win or lose, it is Tomko. In July and August, after Tomko came back from the injured list, he went from starter to long man. For two months it worked.

Then came September. Little has stubbornly stuck with Tomko. He has personally accounted for four losses, no wins. This time, Little tried to change his luck. He tried Tomko in the 8th inning rather than the 6th or 7th.

The Dodgers nation was still euphoric over Monday night's miracle comeback. Tomko's Tuesday night pitches had all the impact of a lousy hangover after a binge.

Tomko's September servings are making Ralph Branca look good in comparison. Branca, for the kids, is the starter turned reliever Charley Dressen turned to face Bobby Thompson in 1951. Like Little, Dressen wanted a big starter in relief.

Branca gave no relief and the then Brooklyn Bums lost the playoff, the pennant, and sank the hearts of Dodgers fans everyplace, including this kid.

You can bet Dressen would not have turned again and again to Branca as Little is with Tomko. Tomko is not only the goat, he's a herd of goats.

The Dodgers will not win if they continue to use the guy. They just will not.