NEW YORK -- The first clue that something was wrong with Rafael Furcal came at the end of the first game of Tuesday's doubleheader, when Blake DeWitt stood in the on-deck circle at a time when Furcal should have been there.
The game, which the Dodgers lost 4-0 to the New York Mets at Citi Field, ended right there, so DeWitt never came to the plate.
Furcal, who had felt tightness in one of his hamstrings as far back as the seventh inning but had remained in defensively for both the seventh and the eighth, missed the second game and probably will miss Wednesday's series finale, as well.
"I think it was his left one," Dodgers manager Joe Torre said between games. "He did it running down the first base line on that double-play ball. He said he didn't feel anything tear and that it just felt tight."
And so it goes for the Dodgers, who suddenly can't score runs and can't stay healthy to go along with all the other things they haven't been able to do all season. The team already has three key players on the disabled list, and even if Furcal isn't headed there, it sounds as if he probably won't play at least until the Dodgers get back home to warmer weather Thursday night. Because of the hurried transition between games of a doubleheader, Furcal wasn't made available to the media.
By the numbers
18 -- innings without a run for the Dodgers through the end of the first game. They hadn't scored a run since the 13th inning of Saturday's game at Washington, and this marked the first time they had been shut out in consecutive games since June 12-13, 2008, when they were blanked first at San Diego and then at Detroit. Last year, the Dodgers weren't shut out for the first time until May 30 against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field. They have been shut out three times in their first 19 games this season.
Lost in the shuffle
Hiroki Kuroda had another strong outing for the Dodgers in the opener, giving up only two runs and five hits over six innings. The only runs he gave up were on a bases-loaded wild pitch in the second inning and a solo home run by Jason Bay, his first of the year, in the fourth. Kuroda took the loss, but he is still 2-1 with a stellar 2.36 ERA.
Rookie Jon Link hadn't pitched in a game since his major league debut April 20 at Cincinnati, when he turned in two hitless innings, and it showed. In between that game and Tuesday, he had been sent back to Triple-A Albuquerque, called back up and logged a lot of frequent flier miles and idle time in the bullpen.
After entering to start the seventh with the Dodgers trailing 2-0, Link gave up a leadoff single to Rod Barajas, walked Jeff Francoeur and gave up a bunt single to Angel Pagan on a sacrifice attempt because Link fielded the ball even though third baseman Casey Blake was calling him off, a call Link apparently didn't hear because of the stadium noise.
Link would seem to be the most likely candidate to be sent back to Albuquerque when the Dodgers bring up a starter -- believed to be John Ely -- to take the injured Vicente Padilla's spot in the rotation for Wednesday's game.
Tony Jackson covers the Dodgers for ESPNLosAngeles.com.