The Los Angeles Dodgers are already planning their postseason rotation, but there’s still the lingering matter of clinching the NL West.
The Dodgers will try again to end that race in Wednesday night’s finale of a two-game road set against the San Diego Padres.
However, the Dodgers are on the verge of a season high-tying four straight losses since clinching that postseason berth. Their lead in the West slipped to 3 1/2 games Tuesday night after they fell 3-1 in San Diego and Colorado defeated Milwaukee in 11 innings.
The pressure is on for Los Angeles, which had a six-game cushion as recently as Thursday, to wrap up its fourth division title in six seasons before the final weekend, when they play three at home against the Rockies.
“What’s worthwhile is worth the wait,” Torre said.
The Dodgers have extended that wait by losing five of seven on the road to three of the NL’s worst teams—Washington, Pittsburgh and the Padres. They’ve scored one run in three of their last five while batting .223.
Manny Ramirez(notes) and Rafael Furcal(notes) returned to the lineup Tuesday, but Casey Blake(notes) (strained left hamstring) and Ronnie Belliard(notes) (groin) are expected to miss Wednesday’s game.
Garland’s five-game winning streak ended Friday night in Pittsburgh as he gave up three unearned runs over six innings of a 3-1 defeat. The right-hander is 2-2 with a 2.86 ERA in five career starts against the Padres, including 1-1 in three this season with a 4.12 ERA.
Garland, 3-1 with a 1.91 ERA in five starts as a Dodgers’ starter, has never faced them with Los Angeles.
The Padres, though, are 21-11 since Aug. 25, trailing only the New York Yankees (24-10) and Cincinnati (23-11) in that span.
Thanks to its late surge, San Diego will avoid consecutive 90-loss seasons for the first time since 2002-03.
San Diego needed just four hits Tuesday for its seventh win in 10 games, and Tony Gwynn(notes) Jr. had two of them, including a home run. Gwynn has batted .355 over the last eight games with five RBIs.
“It means a lot because we are not in the hunt, we’re not in the playoffs,” Kouzmanoff said. “It’s fun to go out and try to hurt them and try to disrupt them from being in the hunt.”
Richard (4-2, 4.58) did not get a decision in his only start against the Dodgers, who reached him for four runs and six hits over 4 1-3 innings while pitching for the Chicago White Sox on June 25.