Lowe gets one final tuneup before the playoffs as the NL West champion Dodgers open a three-game road series against the San Francisco Giants on Friday night.
Los Angeles (83-76) clinched the NL West title on Thursday when second-place Arizona lost 12-3 at St. Louis. It rendered the Dodgers’ home finale later that night against San Diego meaningless, and they celebrated after a 7-5 loss.
“It’s good, but it’s just the first step,” Dodgers left fielder Manny Ramirez said. “We’re happy, but we’re not going to go crazy about it. The goal is to go to the big dance, the World Series. This is not a championship yet.”
It appears Lowe (14-11, 3.29 ERA) is the front-runner to pitch the first game for Los Angeles. He has been outstanding down the stretch, going 4-0 with a 0.54 ERA in his last five starts.
The right-hander had his four-start winning streak snapped on Sunday against the Giants despite another stellar outing. He allowed five hits in seven scoreless innings in a 1-0, 11-inning loss.
Lowe is 4-5 with a 3.32 ERA in 13 career starts against San Francisco, but 1-0 with a 3.00 ERA in three outings this year.
Judging by the way the San Francisco (70-89) has played against Los Angeles this year, the Dodgers may be happy they don’t have anything at stake in this series.
San Francisco is 7-8 against Los Angeles in 2008, winning four of the last five meetings. The Giants temporarily slowed the Dodgers’ pursuit of the NL West crown last weekend by taking two of three in Los Angeles.
“It’s probably going to take away a little bit of the luster,” San Francisco manager Bruce Bochy said of the Dodgers clinching before this series. “I’m not going to do anything different.”
The lone win for Los Angeles in that series came when Brad Hennessey (1-2, 8.65) had a rough outing in Saturday’s 10-7 loss. Hennessey, who will start Friday, gave up five runs in three innings, but did not receive a decision.
It was the right-hander’s third start this season - he is 0-1 with a 4.76 ERA in those outings.
This is the fifth time in six years the Dodgers and Giants have closed the season against each other. The team with the better record has won three of the four previous series, with the lone exception in 2004 when the second-place Giants took two of three games, but were eliminated in their next-to-last game as the Dodgers won to clinch the NL West crown.