Things didn’t go quite as planned for the Los Angeles Dodgers’ pitching staff of Saturday, but they were still able to shut down the struggling Angels.
Now, the Dodgers are hoping another shift in plans will pan out the same way as they send Derek Lowe to the mound in the finale of the three-game series in Anaheim on Sunday.
Chan Ho Park came out of the bullpen on Saturday for his first start since April 30, 2007, and lasted only four innings, yielding two runs in his final inning of work. However, Hong-Chih Kuo relieved him and pitched four shutout innings to get the win in the 6-3 victory.
Blake DeWitt hit a two-run homer for the Dodgers (22-20), who have won three of four since a season-worst five-game losing streak.
“Park did a great job, but that one inning, he had to get too many outs and we gave them too many opportunities,” manager Joe Torre said. “I’m just glad we were able to hold it together from that point on, because the momentum certainly had switched in that inning.”
Torre had to juggle his pitchers again for the season finale, moving Lowe (2-3, 4.62 ERA) up a day make the start. Brad Penny was originally slated to pitch, but was scratched because of arm stiffness.
“He saw a doctor and there was nothing more than that, so that sort of put the concern away, and we just decided to give him an extra day,” Torre said of Penny.
Lowe last pitched on Wednesday, yielding four runs in six innings without getting a decision in the Dodgers’ 6-4 win in Milwaukee. He is 0-2 with a 7.59 ERA in four starts since beating Arizona on April 23.
However, Lowe is 3-0 with a 3.33 ERA in five career starts on fewer than four days’ rest.
Lowe is 6-5 with a 2.86 ERA in 27 career outings—including 11 starts— against the Angels (25-20). He is 14-12 with a 3.97 ERA in 57 career interleague appearances, including 30 starts.
The Dodgers are hoping that Lowe can stifle an Angels team that was held to fewer than five runs for the fifth straight game on Saturday. The Angels have scored just 61 runs while gong 7-9 in May, after getting 138 runs and going 18-10 in April.
“We need to right the ship offensively,” manager Mike Scioscia said. “We’re in a lull right now. This is going to turn around.”
Saturday’s loss was just the Angels’ second in their last 10 games against the Dodgers and their second in 11 home games in the series. They’ll turn to starter Jered Weaver (2-5, 4.86 ERA) as they try to bounce back in the finale.
Weaver threw seven innings and yielded just one hit before leaving without a decision in the Angels’ 2-0 win over the Chicago White Sox on Tuesday. He had gone 1-4 with a 7.02 ERA in his previous six starts.
“I just went out there and tried to pitch like the old Jered, and it came out all right,” Weaver said. “It was just adjustments with mechanics in the bullpen between starts.”
Weaver made two starts against the Dodgers last season, winning both and earning a 1.50 ERA. He failed to get a decision in his only other interleague start, giving up three runs in three innings before leaving with a tight back in the Angels’ 9-6 loss in St. Louis on June 10, in between the starts against the Dodgers.