LOS ANGELES -- A lot was made of the fact the Dodgers hadn’t won more than three games in a row until they rattled off a six-game winning streak to end July. But the flip side was the fact they also hadn’t lost more than three in a row.
They still haven’t, but a loss Tuesday night to the San Diego Padres -- and they’re relying on Kevin Correia, who amounts to their No. 6 starting pitcher -- would make it four losses in a row. With the San Francisco Giants playing better lately, this would be an inopportune time for the Dodgers to go on a lengthy losing streak.
It would also be surprising, considering they won’t face a team with a winning record until Labor Day. In fact, the Dodgers have just three series left against contending teams and two of them are against the Giants, who they lead by 3½ games for the NL West lead.
The Padres, who shipped out several of their highest-paid veterans before the trade deadline, had actually won five straight games and nine of 11 before dropping three of four to the St. Louis Cardinals in their last series. They also recently hired a new general manager, former Texas assistant GM A.J. Preller. The Padres fired their last GM, Josh Byrnes, when the Dodgers were last in San Diego, in June.
It’s not out of the question the Padres could be a team the Dodgers have to look out for in upcoming seasons. But for now the Dodgers just need wins to rebuild what not long ago felt like a fairly comfortable lead. They have won seven of the 10 meetings with the Padres this season.
Correia pitched six strong innings, allowing just one run, in his Dodgers debut in Atlanta, which came right after his Aug. 9 trade from the Minnesota Twins. The former Padre will be pitching on seven days’ rest as the Dodgers initially moved him to the bullpen, but then needed him as a replacement for injured starter Hyun-Jin Ryu.
The Dodgers didn’t fare well against the pitcher they’ll face Tuesday, Ian Kennedy, the last time they saw him. Kennedy, a former USC Trojan, pitched eight scoreless innings July 12 although the Padres lost 1-0. He’s also the pitcher who, last season, helped spark an ugly benches-clearing brawl when he grazed Yasiel Puig's nose with a 92-mph fastball. Kennedy, who was the subject of trade rumors but never moved, is 4-1 with a 2.57 ERA over his last eight starts.
Some of the Dodgers’ pitching issues could be exposed in this series. In the second game, they’ll send Roberto Hernandez, another one of their acquisitions after the non-waiver deadline, to the mound against soft-tossing lefty Eric Stults. On Thursday, they’ll rely on Zack Greinke, who has been dealing with some elbow soreness and walked five in five scoreless innings in his last outing. They’ll have to contend with All-Star right-hander Tyson Ross, who matched a San Diego record with his 11th quality start last time out.