With their offense sputtering, the Los Angeles Dodgers have seen their slump get even worse.
The Dodgers again try to break out of their funk as they look to avoid extending their season-high losing streak to six games when they continue their three-game series with the Cincinnati Reds on Wednesday.
Los Angeles (58-54) fell 4-0 to the Reds on Tuesday, its second straight shutout loss and third in four games.
The Dodgers were 0-for-10 with runners in scoring position, and are just 1-for-36 (.028) in such situations during their five-game losing streak—their longest since dropping eight straight last July 19-26.
“We’ll get through it, hopefully sooner than later,” manager Grady Little said. “Other than that, I don’t have a lot to say. I don’t have a lot of good to say, so I’m not going to say anything.”
Los Angeles won its first four games after the All-Star break, but is just 5-14 since. The Dodgers were a percentage point ahead of Arizona atop the NL West on July 29, but now find themselves tied with Colorado for third place, four games back of the first-place Diamondbacks.
Tuesday’s loss also snapped a nine-game winning streak over Cincinnati dating to July 28, 2005.
“Hopefully we have one or two things go our way, things turn around and it picks up our morale a little bit,” Tuesday’s losing pitcher Mark Hendrickson said.
Chad Billingsley (7-2, 3.43 ERA) was victimized by the Dodgers’ slumping offense his last time out, and he’ll look to help the team get back on track when he takes the mound Wednesday.
Billingsley was the hard-luck loser on Friday, allowing one run and five hits while striking out eight in 7 2-3 innings of a 1-0 loss to Arizona. The 23-year-old right-hander has now lost back-to-back starts after going unbeaten through his first 30 appearances, including seven starts, this season.
In his only career appearance against the Reds, he pitched 1 1-3 scoreless innings of relief in a 10-5 win on May 13, but was not a factor in the decision.
Cincinnati’s Aaron Harang (10-3, 3.54) is expected to return from a back injury and make his first start in a week and a half when he takes the mound Wednesday.
Harang hasn’t pitched since facing the Chicago Cubs on July 28, when he was lifted after facing five batters because of a sore lower back. An MRI exam didn’t find any structural damage, but the Reds decided to give their staff ace some additional rest rather than rush him back and risk further injury.
Harang has been one of the few bright spots for Cincinnati this season. The Reds are 17-6 in his starts, but just 31-58 with anyone else starting.
“I feel bad to keep talking about how good Harang is,” interim manager Pete Mackanin told the team’s official Web site. “I just wish he could get a little more notoriety out of it for what he’s been able to do.”
In his last start, the right-hander allowed two runs in one inning in an 8-1 loss to the Cubs - snapping a nine-game winning streak for the Reds with Harang on the mound.
Harang has struggled in his career against the Dodgers, posting a 6.50 ERA in losing his last three starts against them. He is 1-3 with a 5.47 ERA in four career starts against Los Angeles, and this will be his first start of the year against the Dodgers.
Cincinnati has won three straight following a five-game losing streak.
Edwin Encarnacion doubled home a pair of runs Tuesday, and is 8-for-17 (.471) with five RBIs and four runs in his last four games.