The Los Angeles Angels have sought rotation stability, and the reigning AL Cy Young Award winner has been unable to provide it.
Bartolo Colon again looks for his first win of the season when he starts for the Angels (35-43) to open the three-game Freeway Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers (40-38) on Friday at Angel Stadium.
“Right now is when we need five guys throwing the ball consistently,” said Angels manager Mike Scioscia, who played for the Dodgers from 1980-92. “We’ve talked about a couple of things, but right now we’re not committing to anything different.”
When Colon (0-3, 5.74 ERA) returned from the 15-day disabled list on June 17 after missing more than two months due to right shoulder inflammation, it meant the demotion of Jered Weaver to the minors. The rookie had won all four of his starts and posted a 1.37 ERA.
Colon, in the third season of a four-year deal worth $51 million, went 21-8 with a 3.48 ERA to help the Angels win the AL West title last season.
This is the first time in his 10-year career Colon has lost his first three decisions.
The right-hander suffered his third straight loss in his first appearance off the DL, allowing four runs—two earned—in seven innings of a 7-3 defeat to San Diego. On Saturday in Arizona, he gave up four runs and eight hits in 5 2-3 innings of a 6-4, 13-inning win.
Colon allowed two homers for the second straight game since returning to the rotation.
“The ball wasn’t coming out of his hand as well as it was in the bullpen,” Scioscia said. “He battled and kept us in the ballgame but he wasn’t as sharp as he could have been.”
Brad Penny (8-2, 3.06 ERA) will look to bounce back from a pair of sub-par outings for the Dodgers as he opposes Colon. Penny got a win on Sunday despite allowing four runs and six hits in five innings, also striking out five in the Dodgers’ 7-4 victory over Pittsburgh.
“He had good velocity on his fastball,” Dodgers catcher Russell Martin said. “He was going in and out of the strike zone. He elevated his fastball a few times, but had good command.”
In Penny’s previous start, his five-game win streak ended as he allowed five runs and 10 hits in six innings of a 9-4 defeat to Seattle on June 20.
The right-hander had given up more than three runs only once in his first 14 starts of the season.
Angels right fielder Vladimir Guerrero, homerless in his last 11 games, has hit .364 (12-for-33) against Penny. Teammate Orlando Cabrera, who has reached base in 56 straight games, has batted .111 (5-for-45) against him.
Dodgers first baseman Nomar Garciaparra has hit .196 (10-for-51) with seven strikeouts against Colon, but enters this matchup on an 11-game hitting streak and is batting .409 (18-for-44) in that span.
Angels left fielder Garret Anderson, whose 34th birthday is Friday, is two hits shy of 2,000. Anderson remains day-to-day after missing the past two games with a lower back strain that he aggravated in a rundown on Monday.
The Dodgers were swept in a three-game series at Minnesota this week, and are 4-8 in interleague play.
The Angels’ 5-10 interleague record is the worst among AL teams after they lost their last two games in a home series with Colorado.
The Angels lead the all-time series with the Dodgers 28-25.