Jones and the Dodgers look to bounce back after a tough loss as they continue a three-game series with the San Francisco Giants on Tuesday.
Jones signed a two-year, $36.2 million contract with the Dodgers (52-53), but he’s hitting just .169 with two homers and 13 RBIs in 63 games. He has not started the last two games, including Monday’s 7-6 loss to the Giants (44-61), and manager Joe Torre hinted the situation may not change anytime soon.
“I think there was a sense of urgency all the time with him, based on his own expectations of himself,” Torre said. “He’s a very proud individual and he certainly knows he’s a whole lot better player than he’s shown us. I know it hurts him, but there’s no easy way around it. We’re at a point in the season now where we’re trying to win a pennant.”
On Monday, Jones hit for reliever Brian Falkenborg in the sixth and delivered an RBI single that cut the deficit to one after the Dodgers trailed 7-0 entering the fifth. Jones, though, struck out in the ninth.
“We talked, and Joe just told me what he’s going to go with. There’s nothing I can do about it except get the job done when I get the opportunity,” said Jones, who missed 38 games due to knee surgery. “The situation came up, and it felt good just to go out there and get a key hit.”
Los Angeles squandered a chance to move into a tie with the NL West-leading Arizona Diamondbacks, who lost to the Padres.
After their bullpen pitched 5 1-3 scoreless innings on Monday, the Dodgers look to Jason Johnson (0-0, 2.57) to give them extended innings in his first start since Aug. 18, 2006, when he was with the Boston Red Sox. The 34-year-old right-hander spent 2007 with the Seibu Lions in Japan before the Dodgers signed him to a minor league contract on Feb. 7.
He’s made two relief appearances since being called up on July 18, and allowed one run and two hits in four innings last Tuesday against Colorado.
Johnson isn’t likely to get a second start regardless of Tuesday’s outcome since Brad Penny is expected to come off the DL next week. Johnson is 2-0 with a 1.20 ERA in two starts against the Giants, but has not faced them since 2005.
Although the Dodgers are 6-4 since the All-Star break, the starting rotation is 3-4 with a 6.00 ERA during that span.
Matt Cain (6-8, 3.82) counters for the Giants looking to follow up his best performance of the season.
Cain pitched a four-hitter in a 1-0 win over the Nationals last Thursday, retiring the first 11 batters he faced and striking out four without a walk. It was his second career shutout, and first by a Giants pitcher since Noah Lowry on Aug. 21, 2006.
“He had some easy innings and I pretty much made up my mind that it was his day,” manager Bruce Bochy told the Giants’ official Web site.
The right-hander is 0-4 with a 5.30 ERA in seven starts against the Dodgers.
Jones is 2-for-6 with a double and three walks against Cain.