The reeling Los Angeles Dodgers have spent much of the last week losing ground to two of their NL West rivals—a trend that will continue if they can’t snap their five-game losing streak Monday night.
The first-place San Diego Padres bring their outstanding pitching to Dodger Stadium for a four-game series in hopes of extending Los Angeles’ slump and further burying the Dodgers in the division race.
The Padres (61-42) began Los Angeles’ skid with two wins at Petco Park last week, and the fourth-place Dodgers were unable to reverse their fortunes against San Francisco during the weekend, getting swept to fall eight games behind San Diego.
Los Angeles (54-51) is averaging 2.1 runs and batting .199 while losing 12 of 17 since the All-Star break, and manager Joe Torre’s club was held to four hits in Sunday night’s 2-0 loss to the Giants.
“I know we’re better and I know it’s going to turn around,” Torre said. “The only question is when is it going to happen? We need for it to happen sooner than later … because unless we play better, we are going to be where we deserve to be.”
A pair of recent offensive additions haven’t immediately helped. The Dodgers acquired outfielder Scott Podsednik(notes) and infielder Ryan Theriot(notes) before Saturday’s trade deadline, but the duo went 1 for 8 batting atop the order Sunday.
San Diego’s staff, which leads the majors with a 3.25 ERA, doesn’t figure to make scoring runs any easier.
“You have to give credit to the opposing pitcher,” Torre said after that game. “It’s not easy to hold the ballclub down. I don’t care if the club’s in a slump. You still have to pitch well.”
The left-hander has never pitched at Chavez Ravine, but he’s 2-0 with a 2.60 ERA in three career starts against the Dodgers.
The Padres got a boost from newcomer Ryan Ludwick(notes) in a 5-4 win over Florida and major league ERA leader Josh Johnson(notes) on Sunday. Ludwick’s pinch-hit single in the sixth inning contributed to the three-run rally that put San Diego ahead.
Looking to complete their surprising season with their first division title since 2006, the Padres got Ludwick from St. Louis and Miguel Tejada(notes) from Baltimore before the deadline for the stretch run. They lead San Francisco by 1 1/2 games.
“We’re a confident group,” infielder Jerry Hairston Jr.(notes) said. “The last couple of days have been a little crazy, a lot of uneasiness, a lot of guys don’t know if they’re going to get traded or maybe sent down. But with the additions we have, no question they will help our ballclub. … We have our team now and hopefully we’ll make a really good run.”
San Diego will be looking to beat Hiroki Kuroda(notes) (8-9, 3.53) for the second time in a week. The right-hander was outpitched by Richard on Wednesday, allowing three runs in six-plus innings and finishing July with a 1-4 record.