The Dodgers had hoped that Ethier would be able to start on Tuesday, as Steve Dilbeck of the Los Angeles Times reported on Saturday:
He has jogged and hit during pregame workouts the past two days, and said he is feeling better. Mattingly said if there are no setbacks, he hopes Ethier will be able to play during the three-game series in San Francisco that starts Tuesday.
However, the Dodgers obviously feel that Ethier is not ready to handle the physical demands of MLB play, resulting in his absence in the lineup.
Ethier has had just one at-bat since he injured himself on Sept. 13, with that one plate appearance being a strikeout.
Tuesday marks the 10th consecutive game that Ethier has failed to start in, and he's running out of time to get back to 100 percent. The Dodgers have just five regular season games left after Tuesday night's contest against the San Francisco Giants.
Ethier's foot has been a serious concern as of late, and according to Ken Gurnick of Dodgers.com, he was seen in a walking boot as recently as Sept. 17.
Andre Ethier still wearing protective walking boot on his sprained left ankle.— Ken Gurnick (@kengurnick) September 17, 2013
While he has taken swings without a problem, Ethier still hasn't been able to run the bases without discomfort, as reported by Anthony Jackson of Dodgerscribe.com.
Ethier says he feels normal swinging, but rounding bases still uncomfortable.— Anthony Jackson (@dodgerscribe) September 24, 2013
What's more, the loss of Ethier is exacerbated by the fact that Matt Kemp still isn't completely healthy either.
Kemp has played in just 70 games this season and recently returned from an ankle injury that caused him to miss 52 games from July 21 to Sept. 16.
Moriyama (@ChadMoriyama) July 21, 2013
Kemp's recovery also went poorly, as he suffered a setback on Sept. 6. in the form of a hamstring injury.
Matt Kemp felt tightness in one of his hamstrings and has been shut down "indefinitely"— David Vassegh (@THEREAL_DV) September 6, 2013
Kemp has been a mere shadow of himself in the seven games he's played in since his return, making the loss of Ethier so much more painful.
While Kemp did go 4-for-4 with three RBI in his second game back, he's gone 2-for-15 since then without an extra-base hit, run scored or RBI.
The Dodgers have Yasiel Puig and Carl Crawford in the outfield alongside the struggling Kemp, but losing Ethier still hurts. The team has gone 3-6 without Ethier this month, including 1-3 against teams with sub-.500 records.
Ethier was also one of the best players the team had in the month of October, as he hit .355 with three home runs, six RBI and seven runs scored in the 2009 postseason. He has not played in the playoffs since, and it remains unclear how much he'll play in them this season.
If Ethier missing the postseason, how far will the Dodgers go in the postseason without him?
The Dodgers do not have a lot of players with postseason experience on their roster. Guys like Puig, Hyun-Jin Ryu, Ricky Nolasco and Hanley Ramirez have never played in the postseason before, leaving the team very inexperienced.
The team also has several stars who have historically struggled in October, including Carl Crawford (.253 BA), Matt Kemp (.226 BA), Clayton Kershaw (5.87 ERA) and Zack Greinke (6.48 ERA). These guys haven't been able to step up when it matters most, and Ethier was one of the few Dodgers who found postseason success.
The loss of Ethier is a serious one for the early World Series favorites, and L.A. could see its unbelievable second half comeback be all for naught if the team is ousted early in the postseason.