It’s been all or nothing for the Los Angeles Dodgers of late when it comes to winning and losing.
The first-place Dodgers look to bounce from their first loss in almost two weeks when they continue their road set with the San Diego Padres on Tuesday night.
Los Angeles (73-71) had its eight-game winning streak snapped with a 4-0 loss at San Diego on Monday to open a 10-game road trip. The Dodgers, who are 28-41 away from home, play 12 of their final 18 games on the road. All 18 are against teams with losing records.
“We don’t seem to be bothered by the road,” manager Joe Torre said. “But if we are going to win this thing we are going to have to do so on the road.”
Despite the loss, the Dodgers still own a 1 1/2-game lead in the NL West over Arizona, which lost to San Francisco on Monday for its fourth consecutive defeat.
Before Monday, the Dodgers had not lost since Aug. 29 at Arizona, the last contest of an eight-game losing streak which preceded the recent winning run.
Andre Ethier had three of the four hits Monday for Los Angeles, which was stymied by San Diego’s Cha Seung Baek and two relievers. It was a setback for a Dodgers’ club that scored 52 runs during the winning stretch after totaling 15 during the extended skid.
Ethier, though, is batting .621 (18-for-29) over his last eight contests and .378 (17-for-45) in 13 games against San Diego this season.
Hiroki Kuroda (8-10, 3.96 ERA) takes the ball for the Dodgers looking for a second straight victory over the Padres despite allowing four runs and 10 hits in 5 1-3 innings of a 6-4 win over them Wednesday.
The rookie right-hander, who is 2-1 with a 6.75 ERA in three outings against San Diego, is 1-2 with a 4.43 ERA over his last four starts overall.
“It seems when he gets a little momentum going he’s really good, and then other times when he can’t make the pitch he intends to make he seems to get frustrated,” Torre told the Dodgers’ official Web site.
San Diego counters with rookie Wade LeBlanc (0-1, 11.25), who makes his second straight start of his career versus Los Angeles. Considered one of the club’s top pitching prospects, the left-hander allowed five runs and eight hits in four innings in the loss to Kuroda and the Dodgers.
“Wade couldn’t seem to get any rhythm with his pitches,” Padres manager Bud Black said of LeBlanc’s major league debut. “The command was off, he ran some deep counts and couldn’t seem to find the feel for his changeup. Hopefully, he learned something. He’s a confident young man and he’s got a good head on his shoulders, so I’m sure he will.”
Gonzalez homered Monday for his 29th of the season—one shy of his career high set last year—but his first since Aug. 9.
“When my home runs come, they come in bunches,” Gonzalez said. “So hopefully I’ll be able to get in a good little streak here in the last two weeks of the season.”