It took some time, but the Los Angeles Dodgers might be starting to hit their stride under manager Joe Torre.
Coming off a sweep of the reigning NL champions, the Dodgers look to carry that success to the road and extend their longest win streak under Torre in the opener of a three-game set against the first-place Florida Marlins on Tuesday night.
Los Angeles (12-13) won 3-2 in 10 innings over Colorado on Sunday to finish a 4-1 homestand.
“I think, overall, we’re starting to relax and play with more confidence,” first baseman James Loney told the team’s official Web site.
Rafael Furcal had two hits with an RBI and Loney drove home the winning run Sunday as the Dodgers completed a three-game sweep of the Rockies, scoring 22 runs in the series—10 in the first inning of an 11-3 victory Saturday. Los Angeles had failed to win more than two straight through the first 3 1/2 weeks of the season.
Torre, in his first season guiding Los Angeles, used his 24th different lineup.
“You’re never going to find the combination that you’re going to put out there day in and day out,” Torre said. “The fact that we can bat so many of our guys second or seventh is just the versatility of the type of players we have.”
Furcal is batting .363 and Loney has hit safely in seven straight games while batting .300 with eight RBIs during that span.
Though the Dodgers have played well at home of late, they’ll try to improve on the road where they are 3-8 and have dropped seven of eight. Los Angeles went 2-2 against the Marlins in Miami in 2007.
Derek Lowe (2-1, 2.45 ERA) is scheduled to take the ball for Los Angeles on Tuesday despite leaving his most recent start because of tightness in his elbow. The right-hander allowed a run and three hits in five innings of the Dodgers’ 8-3 win over Arizona on Wednesday, but left as more of a precaution.
“If it was later in the year, we would have kept going,” said Lowe, who is 4-4 with a 4.62 ERA in eight starts versus Florida. “But having it happen so early in the season, they said, ‘OK, let’s stop at this point.’ They told me it’s nothing that’s going to allow me to miss any starts.”
Lowe will try to avoid a third straight loss to the Marlins (15-10), the surprise leaders in the NL East. They are coming off a 3-2, 10-inning victory at Milwaukee on Sunday, closing a 4-3 road trip and tying a franchise record for wins in April.
“We’re here to play, and we’re here to win every day,” Hanley Ramirez told the team’s official Web site. “We don’t have to show nobody, but they’re going to find out.”
Wes Helms homered in the 10th for the Marlins, who took two of three from the Brewers. Helms, playing in place of injured first baseman Mike Jacobs, went 3-for-5 with two RBIs and will likely again start Tuesday for Jacobs, who is day to day with a sprained right middle finger.
Ramirez went 5-for-14 with a homer against Milwaukee to raise his average to .337. The shortstop is 7-for-11 with four doubles in his career against Lowe.
Andrew Miller (1-2, 7.94) will try to build off his first victory with Florida when he takes the mound Tuesday. Miller allowed an earned run and nine hits in five innings of a 7-2 win at Atlanta on Wednesday.
The left-hander, who came to Florida from Detroit in the December trade involving Miguel Cabrera, has never faced Los Angeles.