The veteran left-hander has been a big boost to the Dodgers’ pitching staff, going 3-0 with a 1.47 ERA in his last six starts. On Sunday, he limited Colorado to eight hits and one run in seven innings in Los Angeles’ 6-2 win.
When they signed him to a minor league contract on Jan. 16, the Dodgers were merely hoping Alvarez had something left after five seasons spent mostly on the disabled list or recovering from shoulder surgery.
“The guy has thrown the ball as consistently well as any of our starters here of late,” Dodgers manager Jim Tracy said.
Los Angeles will need him to continue that effort as it has dropped two straight games coming into this series. The Dodgers lost 2-0 to Arizona on Thursday, one day after squandering a 4-0 lead in a 5-4 loss to the Diamondbacks.
Los Angeles split the four-game series and fell 3 1/2 games behind idle Florida in the NL wild-card race with 17 to play. Arizona is 6 1/2 out with 15 to go.
The Dodgers begin a nine-game homestand with this series against the Padres, who have won nine the teams’ 12 meetings this year.
“We came out here and won five out of seven,” Los Angeles manager Jim Tracy said of the team’s road trip. “Three games out in the loss column and a nine-game homestand coming up. We just have to go home and play good ball against the Padres, which is something that we haven’t done a very good job of so far this year.”
San Diego is coming into this series on a solid note, as Keith Lockhart’s pinch-hit, two-run single with the bases loaded in the 10th inning led the Padres to a 5-4 victory over the San Francisco Giants on Thursday.
STANDINGS: Padres - 5th place, 29 1/2 GB, NL West. Dodgers - 2nd place, 11 1/2 GB, NL West.
PADRES PROBABLE STARTER: Kevin Jarvis (4-7, 5.85 ERA). Jarvis is seeking his first win since July 26, when the Padres beat the Giants 2-1. In his last start, he allowed four runs and seven hits over 4 2-3 innings against Houston, but did not get a decision in the Padres’ 10-4 loss on Saturday. Jarvis is 3-6 with a 6.02 ERA in 11 career starts against the Giants.
DODGERS PROBABLE STARTER: Alvarez (4-1, 2.44 ERA). Alvarez is making his first start against the Padres.
OFFENSIVE LEADERS: Padres - Mark Loretta, .318 avg.; Ryan Klesko, 21 HRs; Brian Giles, 77 RBIs and 81 runs; Gary Matthews Jr., 11 SBs. Dodgers - Paul Lo Duca, .281 avg.; Jeromy Burnitz, 27 HRs; Adrian Beltre, 74 RBIs; Shawn Green, 76 runs; Dave Roberts, 36 SBs.
SEASON SERIES: Padres, 9-3.
STREAKS AND NOTES: Padres - The Padres are on the road for the last time in 2003. After playing Los Angeles for three games, the team will face San Francisco for a four-game series and Colorado for a three-game set. … Opponents are hitting .298 against RHP Jarvis. … 3B Sean Burroughs and 2B Mark Loretta are a combined 6-for-6 against LHP Alvarez. Dodgers - OF Green is 1-for-18 in his career against RHP Jarvis. … RHP Hideo Nomo will return to the Dodgers’ rotation Sunday against San Diego. Nomo skipped his scheduled start Tuesday because of soreness in his shoulder but felt fine after a bullpen session Thursday. … INF Alex Cora is hitting .500 (8-for-16) in his career against RHP Jarvis.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Padres - 27-44 on the road; Dodgers - 41-31 at home.
INJURIES: Padres - 1B Ryan Klesko (.059), 15-day DL. Dodgers - OF Brian Jordan (knee), 60-day DL; LHP Troy Brohawn (shoulder), 60-day DL; RHP Darren Dreifort (knee), 60-day DL; RHP Alfredo Gonzalez (shoulder), 60-day DL; LHP Derek Thompson (elbow), 60-day DL.