The Dodgers (42-32) are tied for second in the NL West with Arizona, just one-half game behind San Diego. However, if they played the AL as well as they’ve played against their own league, they’d be leading the division. They’re an impressive 37-23 against the NL, but only 5-9 in interleague games.
Los Angeles will finish below .500 against the AL for the third consecutive season, going just 15-32 in that span.
After Sunday’s series finale, the Dodgers will resume league play Monday with a crucial four-game series at Arizona followed by a three-game series against the Padres at Dodger Stadium.
Los Angeles lost to the Devil Rays 4-3 on Saturday, stranding 15 runners on base, which tied a season high.
“That is too many people to leave on base and think you might win a game,” Dodgers manager Grady Little said.
Luis Gonzalez struck out with runners on first and third to end Saturday’s game, but is 3-for-7 with two homers lifetime against Sunday’s starter Edwin Jackson (0-8, 7.85 ERA), who once again seeks his first win of the season.
Jackson was close to recording a victory in Monday’s 10-2 win over the Diamondbacks, but was forced to leave the game in the fifth with a cramp in his right index finger.
The right-hander allowed two runs and four hits in 4 2-3 innings, and with a 3-2 lead, he was one out from qualifying for a win when Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon lifted him. It was the first time Jackson departed with a lead in 13 starts.
The last pitcher to open a season with 14 straight starts without a victory was Scott Elarton, who went 16 games before his first win for Colorado and Cleveland in 2004.
Jackson, who pitched for the Dodgers from 2003-05, hasn’t won since Sept. 26, 2005. This will be his first career start against his former team.
Los Angeles counters with Hong-Chih Kuo (1-2, 6.65), who moves up a day in the rotation despite a disastrous outing his last time out. Little altered the rotation to give Sunday’s scheduled starter Brad Penny an extra day off to start Monday’s key division series with Arizona.
This switch comes after Kuo was tagged for a career-high eight runs and six hits in just 1 2-3 innings of a 12-1 loss to Toronto on Wednesday. The left-hander was 1-1 with a 2.04 ERA in his first three starts.
This will be his first career start against the Devil Rays, who have won just three of their last 10 games.
Tampa Bay’s Dioner Navarro, mired in a 2-for-34 slump, hit a tiebreaking solo homer in the seventh on Saturday for his first home run since last Sept. 4.
“I think that’s one of two ways to get out of a slump … a broken bat single or a home run,” Navarro said. “It’s been tough for the past couple weeks for me, but there’s nothing I can do about it except keep working hard to get back on a good pace.”
Carl Crawford went 2-for-3 with an RBI on Saturday, and is batting .524 (11-for-21) with seven RBIs in his last six games.