Behind Brad Penny, the Dodgers will seek their third sweep in their last four series in Wednesday’s home matinee against the Mets, who haven’t been swept in a three-game set all season.
Los Angeles’ current run of 10 wins in 11 games started with a three-game home sweep of Colorado and continued with three consecutive victories at Florida. The Dodgers (19-14) also were one game away from a road sweep of the Rockies before a 7-2 loss Sunday.
But they’ve rebounded with back-to-back wins against the Mets (16-15), as rookie Blake DeWitt has led the offense. After DeWitt hit his first major league home run in Monday’s 5-1 victory, the third baseman was 3-for-4 with a go-ahead, inside-the-park home run and four RBIs in Tuesday’s 5-4 win.
DeWitt, who was sent to Triple-A Las Vegas for two days last month before being called up when Nomar Garciaparra was injured, has 11 RBIs in his last seven games.
“I never would have dreamed I would have gotten an inside-the-park home run,” DeWitt said. “I mean, it’s hard enough for me to get a triple.”
Los Angeles’ surging offense, averaging 7.5 runs in the last 11 games, will hope to have Rafael Furcal back in the lineup after he was scratched Tuesday with a stiff back. Furcal is second in the majors with a .366 batting average, and tied for the league lead with 34 runs scored.
With or without their shortstop, they’ll try to help Penny (5-2, 3.19 ERA) win his fifth consecutive start on Wednesday. The right-hander only lasted five innings and allowed three runs Friday against the Rockies, but benefited from the Dodgers’ seven-run sixth inning in an 11-6 victory.
“It didn’t look like he was getting into it until the last couple of innings,” Dodgers manager Joe Torre said. “But he got the win.”
Penny also finished off a three-game home sweep of the Mets last June 13 with a seven-inning, one-run outing, but he’s struggled overall against New York, going 5-11 with a 5.66 ERA. He’s 5-4 in his last nine starts versus the Mets after dropping his first seven career decisions against them.
He’ll face John Maine (3-2, 3.48), who has never beaten the Dodgers. Maine has won his last two starts and allowed two or fewer runs in five straight, but he has lost all three of his career starts against Los Angeles, allowing 22 hits and 14 runs - nine earned - in 16 innings.
Each of Maine’s last two wins followed a Mets loss, including Friday’s game at Arizona, where he allowed two runs in six innings of a 7-2 win. But he still hasn’t made it through the seventh this season.
“I’d like us to get a little more length from our starters. That’s what any manager wants,” Mets manager Willie Randolph said after Nelson Figueroa’s five-inning, five-run outing Tuesday.
The Mets are trying to salvage a .500 road trip after they took two of three against the Diamondbacks over the weekend. A third straight loss Wednesday would match their longest slide of the season.
New York had just five hits in Monday’s loss, then left 13 men on base on Tuesday. The Mets’ offensive struggles have centered around third baseman David Wright, who is 0-for-8 with five strikeouts in the series and has only one hit in his last 17 at-bats.