The Los Angeles Dodgers have played poorly since pulling into a tie atop the NL West last month.
Kevin Brown hasn’t been immune to the Dodgers’ recent woes, as he’s lost four straight starts after a stretch in which he won nine straight decisions.
Los Angeles’ veteran ace will look to get back on the winning track in the finale of a four-game series with the visiting Colorado Rockies.
The Dodgers have lost two of the first three games of this series, and 19 of 27 since a stretch in which they won 12 of 15. Los Angeles was tied with San Francisco for first place in the division on June 21, but has dropped to third place—11 1/2 games behind—with its poor play.
Brown, making his second start since missing time earlier this month due to a strained lower abdominal muscle, is winless since a 4-1 victory against the division-leading Giants on June 17. With that win, he improved to 9-0 with a 1.27 ERA in a stretch of 10 starts.
Since then, he is 0-4 with a 3.52 ERA. He has allowed 13 runs—nine earned—during his losing streak, after giving up just 10 during his unbeaten stretch.
Brown pitched well in his first start since coming off the DL, giving up two runs and five hits over six innings in a 2-1 loss to St. Louis on Saturday.
“I was a little rusty and I made a couple of bad pitches early on,” Brown said. “But it’s hard to be too disappointed after a couple of weeks of not pitching. It’s nice to compete again, although I’d like better results.”
Darren Oliver won for the fifth time in six decisions and doubled home two runs as the Rockies won 8-3 Wednesday. Oliver allowed two runs and four hits with nine strikeouts in seven innings.
Colorado’s win was just its second in eight games.
Shawn Chacon will oppose Brown in the finale. The right-hander, who has lost two straight starts after winning seven of his previous eight, will also be making his second start since coming off the disabled list.
STANDINGS: Rockies - 4th place, 13 1/2 GB, NL West. Dodgers - 3rd place, 11 1/2 GB, NL West.
ROCKIES PROBABLE STARTER: Chacon (11-5, 4.43 ERA). Chacon has given up 10 runs and 10 hits over 8 1-3 innings spanning his last two starts, raising his ERA more than a half run from 3.91. He shut down the Dodgers on May 28, limiting them to just two hits in eight innings of a 6-0 win.
DODGERS PROBABLE STARTER: Brown (10-5, 2.26 ERA). Brown beat the Rockies on May 20, and is 10-5 with a 2.96 ERA in 18 starts and one relief appearance against them.
OFFENSIVE LEADERS: Rockies - Todd Helton, .349 avg. and 91 runs; Preston Wilson, 24 HRs and 95 RBIs; Tony Womack, 11 SBs. Dodgers - Paul Lo Duca, .306 avg.; Jeromy Burnitz, 20 HRs and 51 RBIs; Shawn Green, 53 runs; Dave Roberts, 24 SBs.
SEASON SERIES: Rockies, 7-5.
STREAKS AND NOTES: Rockies - OF Rene Reyes, called up from Triple-A Colorado Springs when LHP Denny Neagle was put on the DL, was 3-for-5 Wednesday after getting his first big league hit the previous night. … RHP Chin-hui Tsao will become the first Taiwanese pitcher to appear in a major league game on Friday when he takes Neagle’s spot in the rotation against Milwaukee at Coors Field. … RHP Joe Roa, who allowed three earned runs over 6 2-3 innings since signing with Colorado as a free agent July 4, was claimed off waivers by San Diego. Dodgers - Colorado’s seven-run sixth inning matched the worst inning this season by a Dodgers pitching staff that entered with a major league-leading 3.10 ERA. … OF Rickey Henderson needs three more homers to join Barry Bonds as the only players in history with 300 home runs and 500 stolen bases. … INF Ron Coomer, who had been on the DL because of headaches caused by a jaw problem, was fitted for a mouth guard that will prevent him from gritting his teeth when he is playing and when he’s sleeping. He’ll get the device next Monday, which will help get him back in the lineup while he is still undergoing two more weeks of treatment and physical therapy.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Rockies - 17-36 on the road; Dodgers - 28-25 at home.
INJURIES: Rockies - RHP Nelson Cruz (shoulder), 15-day DL; LHP Neagle (elbow), 15-day DL; OF Chris Richard (shoulder), 60-day DL. Dodgers - C Todd Hundley (back), 15-day DL; INF Coomer (dizziness), 15-day DL; 1B Fred 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 Darren Dreifort (knee), 60-day DL; LHP Derek Thompson (elbow), 60-day DL.