The Los Angeles Dodgers are still a first-place team. They just haven’t played like one lately.
The Dodgers hope to avoid a season-high fifth straight loss Tuesday night when they continue a three-game home series against the Milwaukee Brewers.
After scoring four total runs in their previous three games, the Dodgers were more productive with the bats in Monday’s series opener, but were unable to overcome an eight-run deficit in a 9-5 loss.
The first three losses of the streak came on the road, while Monday’s defeat was only the second in nine games at Dodger Stadium.
In an effort to jump-start his offense, Dodgers manager Grady Little shuffled his batting order Monday, a move he said will last more than one day.
Little switched the top two hitters, moving Juan Pierre to leadoff and dropping Rafael Furcal to second. He also moved Russell Martin up to fifth ahead of Luis Gonzalez, and shifted Andy LaRoche to seventh in front of Andre Ethier.
“We’re just giving it a different look, and we’ll see what happens,” Little said on the team’s official Web site. “It’s not necessarily having to do with anyone’s non-production in a certain spot. It’s for the sole purpose of given the entire lineup a different look.”
The changes in the order yielded mildly positive results, as Los Angeles went 2-for-5 with runners in scoring position after going 4-for-27 during three straight losses to the Angels.
Randy Wolf (5-3, 3.91 ERA) will try to get the Dodgers back into the win column. The left-hander allowed three runs - two earned - and six hits over five innings Wednesday in a 5-4 victory over St. Louis.
Since giving up a season-high six runs in a 9-1 loss to Arizona on April 30, Wolf has surrendered only three earned runs in 17 1-3 innings over his last three starts. He is 2-0 in that span.
Wolf, who lost his Dodgers debut at Milwaukee on April 3, is 4-3 with a 4.00 ERA in 13 career starts against the Brewers.
Weeks, who missed the previous four games because of a sore right wrist, also matched a career high with three RBIs.
“It just felt good,” Weeks said. “After those four days off, I really wanted to get back to the game and help the team any way possible. I can’t stand to be away from the game for a long period of time, and all the frustration just built up.”
Milwaukee’s Ben Sheets (4-2, 3.86) looks to win his third straight start and fourth consecutive decision. Sheets pitched effectively again Thursday, limiting Philadelphia to two runs and five hits over 7 2-3 innings with a season-high eight strikeouts in a 3-2 victory.
He has surrendered two earned runs or fewer in five of his past six starts and has lasted six innings or more in four in a row.
Sheets pitched a two-hitter in a 7-1 win over the Dodgers in the teams’ April 2 season opener, retiring 22 straight batters after giving up a leadoff homer to Kent in the second inning.
Sheets is 3-4 with a 3.36 ERA in eight career starts against the Dodgers.