Los Angeles (60-55) at St. Louis (53-60)

Cloudy Currently: St. Louis, MO, US
Temp: 49° F
  • Game info: 3:55 pm EDT Sat Aug 11, 2007
  • TV: FOX
Preview | Box Score | Recap

The sputtering Los Angeles Dodgers offense has pushed across just enough runs to win back-to-back games. Derek Lowe hopes his teammates can do the same for him.

Lowe seeks his first win in seven weeks when he takes the ball Saturday as the Dodgers continue their three-game series against the St. Louis Cardinals.

Los Angeles (60-55) held on to beat the Cardinals 2-1 in Friday’s series opener, as James Loney broke a scoreless tie with a two-run homer in the ninth inning.

Before Loney hit his fifth home run of the season, the Dodgers were on the verge of being shut out for the fifth time in seven games. In nine games this month, they have scored a league-worst 22 runs and are batting a major league-low .229.

“These bats will get going,” Los Angeles manager Grady Little said. “We’ve got too many good quality hitters not to bust out. It’ll happen.”

Friday’s victory came after the Dodgers beat Cincinnati 5-4 in 11 innings on Thursday, which snapped a season-high six-game losing streak. Since holding a 1 1/2-game lead in the NL West on July 26, Los Angeles has lost nine of 12 to fall into third place, five games behind first-place Arizona.

Lowe (8-10, 3.58 ERA) has been a victim of the Dodgers’ offensive woes.

He has not won since June 22, going 0-4 with a 4.86 ERA in his last eight games - seven starts.

The right-hander was given only one run of support his last time out, and has received one run or less in five of his last seven starts. In his last three road outings, he’s posted a 1.62 ERA, but is 0-1 as he’s received no runs of support in two of those games.

“It’s frustrating,” Lowe said after giving up six runs - four earned - and four hits in five innings of an 8-7 loss to Arizona on Saturday. “It’s been an eternity since I’ve won, and I’m trying to get back on a roll.”

Lowe has been hampered by a left groin injury since July 25 and now he is suffering from irritation in his left hip. He hasn’t made a start in a week, and last Saturday was his first outing in 10 days after the hip problem forced him to miss a regular turn in the rotation for the first time in 211 career starts.

Lowe recorded his first career victory against the Cardinals on May 15, allowing four runs and eight hits in 5 1-3 innings of a 9-7 win. He lost each of his first three starts against them, posting a 6.19 ERA in those games.

The Cardinals (53-60) have won just three of 10 games this month to fall 6 1/2 games back of NL Central-leading Milwaukee. After this series, St. Louis visits the Brewers and the second-place Chicago Cubs.

“You look at our schedule coming up, with some games against teams ahead of us in the division, if we hang our head over one loss to the Dodgers, we’re in bad shape,” Friday’s losing pitcher Adam Wainwright told the team’s official Web site.

Catcher Yadier Molina was 3-for-4 on Friday after also getting three hits in Thursday’s 5-0 win over San Diego. He is 4-for-8 in his career against Lowe.

The inconsistent Braden Looper (9-9, 5.25) takes the mound Saturday, trying to win consecutive starts for the first time in three months.

Looper has alternated wins and losses in his last six starts, posting a 3.20 ERA in the victories, but a 12.46 ERA in the defeats.

The right-hander allowed four runs and six hits - including three home runs - in 6 1-3 innings of a 10-5 win over San Diego on Monday for just his third win in his last 11 starts. He has not won back-to-back outings since May 6 and 12.

This will be Looper’s first career start against the Dodgers after going 2-3 with a 5.40 ERA in 25 relief appearances against them.

Related Articles

Starting Pitchers

D. Lowe TEX vs. B. Looper CHC
12-14 Record 12-12
3.88 ERA 4.94
147 K 87
59 BB 51
1.27 WHIP 1.34