There's something missing, but not something Dodgers manager Don Mattingly can point to and not something he can easily correct.
It's a feeling.
The Dodgers have lost six of their last eight games and went 4-6 on their 10-game homestand. Last June, the Dodgers began a historic 42-8 run. So far this season, they've yet to put together a winning streak longer than three games.
"When we were able to start putting things together last year, you felt a real true team focus and just a collective group," Mattingly said. "When guys start throwing all the numbers out, all these things, the one thing you can't measure is the feeling you have as a team when everybody's playing together, and you feel like everybody's going in the right direction."
The Dodgers will look to get that feeling back Friday in Colorado, where they'll begin a seven-game road trip. The trip could serve them well. The Dodgers are 18-11 on the road this season -- compared to 13-18 at Dodgers Stadium -- and they'll send their most effective road warrior to the mound on Friday.
Left-hander Hyun-Jin Ryu (6-2, 3.09 ERA) will get the nod for the Dodgers after picking up back-to-back home wins. He's been even better on the road this season, going 4-0 with an MLB-best 0.56 road ERA and striking out 32 batters in 32 innings. Ryu will take the mound against an unknown force, Rockies right-hander Eddie Butler, a top prospect who will earn the call from Double-A for his Major League debut.
Colorado, too, has been straddling the .500 mark this season, sitting in third place in the National League West behind the second-place Dodgers. Both teams are looking to get on a roll.
"The longer it goes in the season, the harder it is to get on that roll," said Dodgers catcher Drew Butera. "You like to do it right off the bat, but sometimes you don't get it until later in the year. As long as you get on a roll -- that's the main thing."
For Mattingly, it's a matter of recapturing a team feeling and not so much an issue of talent.
"I don't think it's that difficult," he said. "I say things like that aren't difficult, because I see these guys hit, and I see [Clayton] Kershaw, and I see [Zack] Greinke, and I see Hyun-Jin Ryu, and I see [Josh] Beckett has kept us in every game, and Danny Haren has kept us in every game. So that to me is not something that should be difficult, necessarily, but it has been to this point.
"We don't really seem to be gaining traction at this point. We haven't really gotten the team rolling yet. That's the one thing that I think we haven't felt."
Rockies: Butler to make debut
The Rockies, looking for a spark of their own, won't wait any longer for their No. 2 prospect to develop. Butler will start Friday, earning the call from Double-A Tulsa.
Butler will look to get the Rockies back on the winning track after a season-high seven-game losing streak and after the team held a players only meeting Thursday.
"I just want to come in and be a part of the team, give the guys a chance to win," Butler said. "If I go out there and pitch six innings and have us in the ballgame, that's going to be a great day."
The right-hander, who is 4-4 with a 2.49 ERA in 11 starts at Double-A, is starting in place of struggling left-hander Franklin Morales, who was demoted to the bullpen with a 3-6 record and a 6.03 ERA.
Eddie Butler is the third Rockies player to make his Major League debut this season, joining Tommy Kahnle and Chris Martin.
While the Rockies have high expectations for the 23-year-old's future, they aren't expecting too much too soon.
"We're not asking him to come in here and be the savior of the staff at his age," said Rockies manager Walt Weiss.
"He's been very dominant at times over the last couple of seasons. We knew he was a big leaguer, it was just a matter of when -- and the time is now."
Dodgers: Gordon looks to get going
Before a leadoff bunt single in the first inning of Wednesday's game against the White Sox, second baseman Dee Gordon had gone through a 7-for-39 slide and saw his average dip below .300.
Gordon isn't too worried, however.
"I think it's evening out, honestly," Gordon said. "I wasn't going to hit .340 the whole year. The good thing is I'm not panicking. I'm not making any dramatic changes or anything."
Gordon has been a sparkplug at the top of the Dodgers' lineup for most of the season, tallying an MLB-best 34 steals.
Gordon said he's optimistic he can avoid the prolonged slumps he experienced previously in his career.
"This feels different," Gordon said, "because in the past, I didn't know how to get out of it."
• The Dodgers' bullpen has been dominant of late, pitching scoreless relief nine times in its last 11 games.
• Dodgers right fielder Yasiel Puig has reached base in 36 consecutive games.
• Butler was a supplemental first-round pick in the 2012 First-Year Player, drafted 26th overall out of Radford University. Last year, he had a Rockies organization-best 1.80 ERA in 28 starts.
Michael Lananna is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.