MIAMI -- The Dodgers on Friday night opened a 10-game trip with a 5-2 win that followed a team meeting called by manager Don Mattingly that came after a 4-5 homestand.
"I didn't think we played badly [at home], but I wanted to make sure they knew the opportunity they had," Mattingly said of his meeting.
"We have a lot of new guys and there's a lot of stuff they didn't get to hear [in Spring Training] because they weren't here. Guys like Shane [Victorino], [Joe] Blanton, Hanley [Ramirez]. We're at 49 games left, just a little under one-third. It's a lot of baseball, but not that much, you know?
"We can't sit here and waste games. I just needed to make sure they understood that every game is important, make sure they understand the opportunity. You don't get that many chances to win. What they did early gave us the opportunity to pick up guys to enhance the team. Now, can we put it all together?"
The first move made was the July 25 acquisition of Ramirez and reliever Randy Choate. Through that date, the Dodgers were eight games above .500 and 2 1/2 games out of first. Since that date, they've played one game above .500 and are tied for first.