Kazuhisa Ishii is hoping the second half of this season goes significantly better than last year’s.
Ishii won the first six starts in his rookie season last year, and opened his big league career with a sparkling 10-1 mark. However, the Japanese left-hander proved very hittable during the second half, finishing with a 14-10 mark and a 4.27 ERA.
Though his first half numbers aren’t quite as staggering this year, Ishii has made a big contribution to Los Angeles’ major league-leading pitching staff. He entered the break by winning four of five decisions, including a 6-5 victory over St. Louis on July 9.
Ishii yielded four runs—his most in eight starts—and four hits over 5 1-3 innings, striking out six and walking five.
He has been at his best at home this season, boasting a 4-0 mark with a 1.83 ERA in nine starts.
The Dodgers opened the second half with yet another strong pitching performance. Hideo Nomo tossed six strong innings and added a two-run double and homer as Los Angeles beat St. Louis 6-3.
Adrian Beltre also drove in three runs for the Dodgers, who won their second straight after losing 15 of 19.
The 44-year-old Henderson, baseball’s all-time leader in runs scored, walks and stolen bases, went 1-for-4. He signed with the Dodgers after playing 56 games for Newark of the independent Atlantic League. Burnitz, traded to the Dodgers by the New York Mets for three minor leaguers, went hitless in four at-bats.
The Cardinals had their three-game winning streak snapped and lost for the ninth time in 15 games. They have lost three straight to the Dodgers this year.
STANDINGS: Cardinals - 2nd place, 2 GB, NL Central. Dodgers - 3rd place, 7 GB, NL West.
CARDINALS PROBABLE STARTER: Brett Tomko (5-6, 5.80 ERA). Tomko was unbeaten in four starts before being bombed for six runs and eight hits over six innings in a 6-5 loss to the Dodgers on July 9. The veteran right-hander is 5-3 despite a 7.89 ERA in 10 appearances, including nine starts, on the road this year. Tomko is 5-3 with a 3.62 ERA in 12 career appearances, including 11 starts, against the Dodgers.
DODGERS PROBABLE STARTER: Ishii (8-3, 2.94 ERA). Ishii is 1-1 with a 5.56 ERA in two career starts against the Cardinals.
OFFENSIVE LEADERS: Cardinals - Albert Pujols, .368 avg., 87 RBIs and 81 runs; Jim Edmonds, 28 HRs; Edgar Renteria, 23 SBs. Dodgers - Paul Lo Duca, .306 avg.; Shawn Green and Fred McGriff, 10 HRs; Green, 45 RBIs and 47 runs; Dave Roberts, 24 SBs.
SEASON SERIES: Dodgers, 3-0.
STREAKS AND NOTES: Cardinals - All-Star OF Edmonds was a late scratch Thursday because of soreness in his right shoulder. He is listed as day-to-day. … All-Star 3B Scott Rolen ended an 0-for-12 drought with a single in the fourth inning Thursday. … The Cardinals won 50 games following the All-Star break in each of the last two seasons, going 50-26 two years ago and 50-29 last year. Dodgers - Instead of wearing his familiar No. 24, Henderson will wear No. 25 with the Dodgers. Hall of Fame manager Walter Alston wore No. 24, and the number has been retired by the team. … The Dodgers optioned OF Chin-Feng Chen and RHP Alfredo Gonzalez to Triple-A Las Vegas of the Pacific Coast League to make room for OFs Burnitz and Henderson. … Barring anything unforeseen, Dodgers RHP Kevin Brown will come off the disabled list Saturday and start against the Cardinals. Brown, 10-4 with a 2.30 ERA, hasn’t pitched since straining an abdominal muscle July 3 while running the bases against San Diego.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Cardinals - 20-26 on the road; Dodgers - 26-21 at home.
INJURIES: Cardinals - OF Edmonds (shoulder), day-to-day; C Joe Girardi (back), 15-day DL; C Steve Torrealba (elbow), 15-day DL; INF Miguel Cairo (hand), 15-day DL; 2B Fernando Vina (hamstring), 15-day DL; OF Eli Marrero (ankle), 15-day DL; RHP Russ Springer (elbow), 15-day DL; RHP Kiko Calero (foot), 60-day DL; RHP Chris Carpenter (shoulder), 60-day DL; RHP Gene Stechschulte (shoulder), 60-day DL. Dodgers - C Todd Hundley (back), 15-day DL; INF Ron Coomer (dizziness), 15-day DL; 1B McGriff (abductor), 15-day DL; OF Brian Jordan (knee), 15-day DL; OF Roberts (hamstring), 15-day DL; LHP Troy Brohawn (shoulder), 15-day DL; RHP Brown (abdomen), 15-day DL; RHP Darren Dreifort (knee), 60-day DL; LHP Derek Thompson (elbow), 60-day DL.