The Dodgers begin a two-game home series when they try to hand the NL-worst Astros a fourth straight loss Monday night.
Los Angeles (20-17) has posted a 1.71 ERA during its run, getting six victories from starters. The Dodgers completed a three-game sweep at NL West-leading San Diego with a 1-0 win Sunday as Chad Billingsley(notes) gave up four hits over 7 1-3 innings.
“It’s a big win because we put a streak together ourselves where we’ve played good baseball and had good pitching,” manager Joe Torre said. “That’s where we were fumbling around early on trying to get that good feel. Over the last 10 days, I guess, we’ve played a lot better.”
That pitching may be needed even more with Andre Ethier(notes) out indefinitely with a fractured top knuckle on his right pinkie, which will need to be immobilized. Ethier is leading the majors with a .392 average and 38 RBIs.
“It’s disappointing, but these are the potholes you have to deal with,” Torre told the Dodgers’ official website.
The Los Angeles staff may not be tested much in this short series. Houston (13-24) has the fewest runs in the majors with 110, scoring six times over the weekend in a three-game sweep by San Francisco.
“It seems like we can’t find the rhythm,” Lee told the Astros’ official website. “We will do good and score some runs and hit with people on base and all of a sudden stop doing that. It seems like we find a way to lose by one run.”
Houston scored 19 runs in registering a three-game sweep at St. Louis to start this road trip before faltering in San Francisco, dropping two one-run games to end the series.
“I think nobody’s playing as many close games as us,” Lee said. “It’s frustrating, especially when it seems like you have a chance and you fight all the way to the end and keep coming up short.”
Dodgers rookie John Ely(notes) (1-1, 3.86) will make his fourth career start and first against Houston. He earned his first victory Tuesday by yielding two runs over six innings in a 13-3 victory at Arizona.
The right-hander, who turned 24 on Thursday, has struck out 13 over 12 2-3 innings in his last two starts.
The Astros will counter with Wandy Rodriguez(notes) (2-4, 4.81), who has given up five runs in each of his last three starts. That effort over six innings was good enough for the left-hander to get credit for a 9-6 victory against the Cardinals on Wednesday.
Rodriguez is 3-2 with a 2.78 ERA in six starts against the Dodgers.