(Giovanni Carrara, throwing away a bunted ball in the 8th inning on Tuesday.)

No less an authority than Steve Phillips has warned that Jose Valentin and Jeff Kent are going to hurt the Dodgers with their poor fielding this season. The LA Times’ carriage return junkie Bill Plaschke, however, can base his criticism on evidence a capacity crowd at SBC Park witnessed yesterday.

He lost the ball in the chalk.

The explanation was painfully honest, chillingly odd, frighteningly ominous.

He lost the ball in the chalk.

“The ball hit the chalk ¦ the ball and the chalk are the same color,” Jose Valentin said Tuesday afternoon. “I was barely able to knock it down.”

He lost the ball in the chalk?

Valentin, who has played barely 10% of his career at third base, cost the Dodgers their season opener Tuesday when he muffed and poorly threw Moises Alou’s two-out grounder that had bounced off this newfangled thing known as a third base line.

A run scored, the Giants eventually won, 4-2, and you know what else should be the same color?

Paul DePodesta’s face and red.

A couple of hours after the general manager acknowledged that his off-season moves hurt the Dodger defense, the team proved it in a loss that looked exactly like the lost weekend against the Angels.

Get a lead early, give it away late, check on a forwarding address for Adrian Beltre and Alex Cora.

Seven errors in three games against the Angels.

Two errors in one awful afternoon against the Giants.

Four words for Dodger fans:

Get used to it.