It’s still early, but the injury-riddled Los Angeles Dodgers are sitting at the bottom of the NL West as one of the biggest disappointments in baseball.
Pitching may be the biggest culprit of late, but Josh Beckett hasn’t been of much help all season.
Beckett looks to halt his worst start to a season and snap the Dodgers’ latest slide as they face the Arizona Diamondbacks on Tuesday night.
Despite having the highest payroll in baseball at nearly $221 million, Los Angeles (13-18) is a season-worst five games under .500 after losing five straight - one shy of its season high April 14-20.
Injuries are partly to blame. The Dodgers’ disabled list includes shortstop Hanley Ramirez second baseman Mark Ellis and starters Zack Greinke Ted Lilly Stephen Fife and Chad Billingsley who is out for the season following elbow surgery.
The injuries to the rotation may be taking a toll since the starters have a 7.66 ERA over the last five games. Chris Capuano turned in the latest dismal effort, surrendering six runs in four innings of Monday’s 9-2 loss in the opener of this three-game series with Arizona (17-15).
The Dodgers hope Beckett (0-4, 5.24 ERA) can end the current losing streak, but he’s winless through his first six starts for the first time in his 13-year career.
Beckett has been particularly bad over his past three outings, posting a 7.80 ERA while allowing 20 hits and eight walks in 15 innings. He surrendered five runs in a season-low four innings of a 7-3 loss to Colorado on Wednesday.
“I’ve just got to get back to work, figure something out,” said Beckett, among the Dodgers’ highest-paid players at $17 million this year. “That’s what this business is all about. I can’t just go out and keep pitching like (this).”
His best performance of the season came at Arizona on April 14, but he allowed a walkoff RBI single to Paul Goldschmidt with one out in the ninth inning to lose 1-0.
Goldschmidt had four hits Monday with a homer and three RBIs. The first baseman is 8 for 16 in four meetings with the Dodgers this season, and he’s batted .391 with three homers and nine RBIs in 12 career games at Chavez Ravine.
Like Beckett, Brandon McCarthy (0-3, 7.22) is enduring his worst start to a season through six outings. His ERA and .351 opponents’ batting average are among the worst in baseball.
The right-hander seemed headed for his first win in a Diamondbacks uniform Wednesday, but the bullpen surrendered five runs in the final two innings of Wednesday’s 9-6 loss to San Francisco. McCarthy gave up four runs and eight hits - two homers - before leaving after the sixth inning with a two-run lead.
“Overall, it was encouraging but there are little things I can do to smooth out the rough edges,” McCarthy told the team’s official website. “The stuff is there, it’s just making sure you put together the whole game plan.”
McCarthy won his only career start against Los Angeles on June 19, yielding two hits in seven innings of a 3-0 win with Oakland.
Dodgers slugger Adrian Gonzalez (sore neck) was in the starting lineup Monday for the first time in four games and had two hits. He’s 8 for 15 versus Arizona this season.