The Dodgers look to extend their winning streak to five games Wednesday and sweep a home series against the Padres for the first time in over three years.
Los Angeles (69-70) is on a four-game winning streak after dropping a season-high eight in a row. Despite that slide, the second-place Dodgers didn’t fall out of the NL West race and are now 1 1/2 games behind first-place Arizona.
The Dodgers got a game closer in the chase Tuesday, beating San Diego 8-4 after posting a 5-2 win in Monday’s series opener. They haven’t swept a home series from the Padres since a three-game set from April 15-17, 2005.
“Everybody’s showing a lot of life, and it’s been real fun,” Dodgers reliever Joe Beimel said. “That losing streak was kind of crazy. It was like we couldn’t do anything right. We knew we were a better team than what we were showing, and I think everybody in here figured that once we snapped that streak that we’d win a bunch of games in a row and get back in it.”
Los Angeles hopes Manny Ramirez can continue his torrid hitting. The mercurial left fielder hit a three-run homer—his 30th of the season—Tuesday to improve to 16-for-28 (.571) with four homers, eight RBIs and 10 runs over the last eight games.
Ramirez has reached the 30-homer mark for the 12th time, and the only players who did it more often were Hank Aaron (15), Barry Bonds (14), Babe Ruth (13) and Mike Schmidt (13).
He’s also batting .414 with 10 homers and 29 RBIs in 31 games with Los Angeles after it acquired him in a three-team trade from Boston at the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline.
“It’s been great for me, having Manny over here,” said Dodgers manager Joe Torre, who managed the New York Yankees during Ramirez’s entire stint with the Red Sox. “Even though he terrorized me for 12 years in New York, it’s nice to see other managers wrestling with their decisions about whether to pitch to him or not. And the month he’s been here, he’s been A-No. 1 for us.”
The Dodgers give the ball to Hiroki Kuroda (7-10, 3.87 ERA), who looks to re-establish his success at home.
The right-hander is 5-2 with a 2.70 ERA in his last nine starts at Dodger Stadium. However, he lost his last game there on Aug. 19, allowing four runs and six hits in six innings of an 8-3 defeat to Colorado.
Since then, Kuroda has gone 0-1 in two road starts, despite posting a 2.45 ERA.
He’s 1-1 with a 6.75 ERA in two starts against the Padres, but lasted just 2 1-3 innings after being tagged for six runs in his last matchup against them on June 12—a 9-0 loss.
The Padres, meanwhile, have lost eight straight on the road, and the first two in a seven-game trip after showing some signs of improvement with a 5-1 homestand.
San Diego hopes to get a glimpse of the future Wednesday when it gives Wade LeBlanc his first career start after recalling him from Triple-A Portland on Monday.
The 24-year-old left-hander was 11-9 with a 5.32 ERA with Portland this season.
The Padres selected LeBlanc in the second round of the 2006 draft after he was taken in the 36th round in 2003 by Tampa Bay, but instead opted to attend Alabama.