But the Dodgers have come to rely so heavily on Martin that the thought he might miss significant time at a point when they are clinging to life in the standings had to be weighing on them – even if backup Mike Lieberthal doubled, walked and scored both of the Dodgers’ runs. “Russell came out to the dugout wanting to pinch hit late in the game,” Dodgers manager Grady Little said. “I’m not really sure if he will be in there (today).” The middle of a playoff race seemed like a bad place for the Dodgers (73-66) to put up a stinker, but sometimes, those are the games that are the easiest to move on from. They committed three errors, one on a throw from right field by Kemp that sailed over Lieberthal’s head, ricochetted off the brick wall behind the plate and shot back into foul territory over by the first-base dugout. That allowed Mark DeRosa, who had planned on stopping at third, to scoot all the way home on Derrek Lee’s single. The run looked big at the time, making it 4-1 in the fifth. But nothing looked big after the eighth, when Jonathan Meloan faced two batters and walked them both, Mark Hendrickson gave up two runs without recording an out, and Roberto Hernandez gave up two more hits, allowed another run and hit a batter. By that time, the third-place Dodgers knew they would end the evening four games back in the NL West, three back in the wild card. Eric Stults (1-3), making what the Dodgers hope will be his final start of the season in place of the suspended David Wells, gave up an RBI single to Geovany Soto in the second and a two-run homer to Aramis Ramirez in the third, making it 3-0. The Dodgers drafted Lilly in the 23rd round in 1996. Two years later, they shipped him to Montreal in a seven-player deal. That eventually brought Lilly (14-7) here, where he gave up two runs over 62/3 innings Wednesday. firstname.lastname@example.orgWant local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! The Dodgers had lost, 8-2, to the Chicago Cubs before 39,559 on Wednesday night at Wrigley Field. But more than that, they had gotten a lackluster performance from their starting pitcher, flubbed a couple of throws, gotten schooled by a veteran pitcher they had traded away almost a decade ago, gone 1-for-7 with runners in scoring position and watched a rare collapse by their bullpen in the bottom of an eighth inning that had begun with the Dodgers still within striking distance. In the wake of all of that, it could be argued Martin’s absence was the story. The man who had started behind the plate for all but 13 of the Dodgers’ previous 138 games had been sent to a local hospital before this one for an MRI on his left knee. He had been injured slightly when he attempted, and failed, to score from third base on a would-be sacrifice fly by Rafael Furcal in the eighth inning on Tuesday night. Martin limped to the dugout, but he stayed in the game to catch the final two innings, and the MRI was only for precautionary reasons. As expected, it showed nothing more than a sprain, and Martin himself is nothing more than day to day, meaning he could be back in the lineup as soon as this afternoon. “I’ll know (today) when I get on the field and do some different activities and see how it responds,” Martin said. “I tried squatting. Movement-wise, I have full range of motion. The information the doctor gave me couldn’t be any better, so that’s a good thing.” The fact Martin didn’t play wasn’t the reason the Dodgers couldn’t solve Ted Lilly, the same guy they had knocked out of the game in the fifth inning back on May 25 at Dodger Stadium. It also wasn’t the reason the Dodgers didn’t have the greatest approach against Lilly, as exemplified by the top of the fourth inning, when Matt Kemp led off with a single and never advanced because Jeff Kent and Andre Ethier each popped up on the first pitch before Shea Hillenbrand struck out on three pitches. BASEBALL: While Martin gets an MRI that produces good news, L.A. turns in a stinker. By Tony Jackson STAFF WRITER CHICAGO – Russell Martin walked out of the shower, sat down in front of his locker to finish toweling off, then spied the small gaggle of reporters waiting to talk to him after a game he didn’t play in. He tried as best he could, as politely as he could, to shoo them away, insisting that there was “no story,” but he was ultimately unsuccessful.