With their offense stumbling, the Los Angeles Dodgers have watched their division lead disappear.
The Dodgers try to get their offense back on track and avoid losing consecutive series for the first time all season as they wrap up their three-game set with the Toronto Blue Jays on Sunday.
Los Angeles (35-27) was atop the NL West on Monday, but losing four of its last five games has dropped it to third place, 1 1/2 games behind first-place San Diego.
The Dodgers fell to the Blue Jays 1-0 on Saturday, their second shutout loss in the last five games and fourth since May 4. Los Angeles, which was swept in three games at San Diego before this series, has scored only 11 runs while batting a mere .217 in its last five games.
Catcher Russell Martin was hitless in four at-bats on Saturday, and is just 2-for-18 (.111) in his last five games.
Jason Schmidt (1-2, 4.76 ERA) hopes his offense can back him with some scoring, as he looks to carry some momentum from his last impressive start in Sunday’s series finale.
After spending seven weeks on the disabled list with bursitis in his right shoulder, Schmidt showed no signs of weakness on Tuesday. In his first start since April 14, the right-hander limited San Diego to one hit in six shutout innings, but had no offensive support in a 1-0 loss, and was not a factor in the decision.
“I felt I was able to locate better and I felt free and easy,” Schmidt told the Dodgers’ official Web site. “I didn’t have to put as much arm effort into it. I hope this is a building block.”
Schmidt went just 1-2 with a 7.36 ERA in his first three starts before landing on the DL.
The 13-year veteran has only faced the Blue Jays once, giving up two runs and seven hits, while striking out 12 in 6 2-3 innings of a 4-3 victory for San Francisco on June 15, 2004.
Toronto (29-32) snapped a three-game losing skid with Saturday’s victory, but has not won consecutive road games in a single series since April 23 and 24 at Boston.
Matt Stairs provided all the offense the Blue Jays would need on Saturday with his ninth homer—all in his last 22 games. Stairs, starting at first base for the injured Lyle Overbay, hit a game-tying home run in the ninth in Friday’s series opener before the Dodgers pulled out a 4-3 victory in 10 innings.
Roy Halladay (5-2, 4.63) tries to bounce back from yet another poor outing when he takes the mound on Sunday.
After throwing seven scoreless innings on May 31 in his return from the DL because of an emergency appendectomy, Halladay was tagged for eight runs and 12 hits in a season-low 3 1-3 innings, but the Blue Jays rallied with six runs in the ninth to beat Tampa Bay 12-11 on Tuesday.
The 2003 AL Cy Young Award winner has struggled lately, allowing at least eight runs in three of his last four starts. He’s given up 41 hits in just 20 2-3 innings in those games, posting a horrible 10.02 ERA.
“You’ve just got to continue grinding to find a way,” the right-hander told the Blue Jays’ official Web site. “I wasn’t able to do it in the game. I’ll do everything I can to correct it before the next start.”
Halladay tries to bounce back in interleague play, in which he’s 9-3 with a 3.01 ERA in 14 games against the NL since the start of the 2003 season.
He was fantastic in his only career start against the Dodgers, pitching a four-hitter in a 2-1 victory on June 18, 2002.