Lilly looks to win for the fifth time in as many starts with Los Angeles on Tuesday night in a matchup with the Milwaukee Brewers.
An 11-3 stretch on the road helped the Dodgers (63-62) take a one-half game lead in the NL West on June 16, but the two-time defending division champions have struggled away from Chavez Ravine since July 4, dropping 14 of 17 to fall out of playoff contention.
With a disappointing 3-3 homestand behind them, the Dodgers give the ball to Lilly (7-8, 3.23 ERA) as they begin a six-game trip.
Making his fourth start since being acquired from the Chicago Cubs on July 31 before the non-waiver trade deadline, the left-hander struck out a season-high 11 and threw a two-hitter in Thursday’s 2-0 victory over Colorado.
“I’m going to enjoy this tonight, but I know I’ve got to be prepared for my next start against Milwaukee,” said Lilly, who has a 1.29 ERA since joining the Dodgers. “I don’t think I’m ever going to get totally comfortable, because the competition’s too good for that.”
Lilly, though, should feel comfortable in Miller Park, where he is 1-0 with a 0.64 ERA in two starts this season - both with the Cubs. He’s held Milwaukee to a .176 average in his last four outings there, going 2-0.
The Brewers (59-65) could use a strong outing from right-hander Dave Bush(notes) (6-10, 4.63) after their starters posted an 11.68 ERA over the weekend against NL West-leading San Diego. The bullpen carried Milwaukee to the series win, logging 14 2-3 innings and recording a 1.23 ERA.
“Really, in all three games in this series, our starters haven’t gotten us where we need to get,” manager Ken Macha told the Brewers’ official website after the team’s four-game winning streak was snapped with Sunday’s 7-3 home loss.
After matching a major league record by giving up four consecutive home runs in his previous outing - an 8-2 loss to Arizona on Aug. 11 - Bush beat St. Louis last Tuesday as he threw six innings of one-run ball in a 3-2 victory.
“Some good ones, some bad ones,” he said. “But after a day or two you’ve got to flush it and prepare for the next one.”
Bush went five innings in a 7-3 loss at Los Angeles on May 6, yielding three runs and four hits, as the Dodgers salvaged the finale of a three-game set by scoring four in the ninth.
Manny Ramirez(notes) missed that series due to a right calf strain, but he should see action at Miller Park after being activated Saturday following a second stint on the disabled list with the same injury. He was 0 for 3 on Saturday and given the day off Sunday as Los Angeles lost 5-2 to Cincinnati.
Ramirez has hit .364 with three homers in six career games at Miller Park.
Ryan Braun homered in both of those games after going 22 in a row without one. He’s batting .464 in the last seven games, and teammate Casey McGehee(notes) is hitting .415 with five home runs and 17 RBIs in his past 13.
Los Angeles has won five of seven in Milwaukee, including two of three in its last visit July 10-12, 2009.