Yasiel Puig, left, and Andre Ethier, right, high-five teammates after a very solid win in Pittsburgh.

Yasiel Puig, left, and Andre Ethier, right, high-five teammates after a very solid win in Pittsburgh.

OK. The Dodgers hit 10 games below .500, and that seems really bad with the season’s halfway point rapidly approaching. But yesterday’s game gave me hope.

Not only did the boys in blue work together to get Clayton Kershaw out of that horrible first inning with only one run given up, but they managed to not allow another Pirates run after Pittsburgh had tied it up, 3-3, (on a home run off our new “closer” Kenley Jansen) in the ninth.

Plus, Juan Uribe and Nick Punto came through in the clutch, knocking in two runs with good, solid hits in the 11th. Then Brandon League tried his best to give the game away, but defense saved his ass. A fine display of Dodger spirit if I’ve ever seen it. (And kudos to Andre Ethier, who hit like he used to yesterday.)

Author Mark Harris writes about baseball like nobody else.

Author Mark Harris writes about baseball like nobody else.

Perhaps the melee with Arizona brought the players together somehow. Maybe the team can turn this season around, like the fictional Mammoths do in Mark Harris’ brilliant novel “Bang the Drum Slowly.” I am not advocating any Dodger die, of course, but the team in the book — and the movie starring Michael Moriarty and Robert De Niro — come together and become a force to be reckoned with, turning their misfortunes into a pennant through sheer good will and teamwork.

“Bang the Drum Slowly” is one of four books narrated by pitcher Henry Wiggen that follows his career with the fictional New York Mammoths.

If you love baseball, you should stop everything and read these books right now. They are beautiful, poignant, exciting, funny, heartbreaking … just like baseball. In “Bang the Drum Slowly,” Wiggen reluctantly befriends Bruce Pearson, a so-so catcher who is not the brightest bulb on the porch but is also dying of cancer. Bruce’s misfortune puts things in perspective for the other players on the team, and they stop griping about everything and start playing baseball the way they were meant to. Here is an excerpt:

One of four Mark Harris novels following the baseball life of pitcher Henry Wiggen and the New York Mammoths.

One of four Mark Harris novels following the baseball life of pitcher Henry Wiggen and the New York Mammoths.

We whipped Chicago twice. Nothing in the world could stop us now. Winning makes winning like money makes money, and we had power and pitching and speed, so much of it that if anybody done anything wrong nobody ever noticed. There was too much we were doing right. It was a club, like it should of been all year but never was but all of a sudden become.

The great thing about these books — the other titles are “The Southpaw,” “It Seemed Like Forever” and “A Ticket for a Seamstitch” — is that Harris writes about baseball with all its glories and its flaws. The players are cruel and vain a lot of the time, they mercilessly tease the weakest among them, and they care primarily about themselves and their own careers. But when they need to come together, they do, and they are all the better for it.

The Dodgers need some of that right about now.

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