Looking to bounce back from their first series sweep, a series with the San Diego Padres may be just what the Los Angeles Dodgers are looking for.
The Dodgers look to extend their longest winning streak over the Padres in 42 years when they open this three-game set at Chavez Ravine on Friday night.
Los Angeles (12-11) had won eight of 11 games before dropping four straight to Miami and former manager Don Mattingly, falling 5-3 in the series finale Thursday to send Kenta Maeda to his first major-league loss.
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"He pitched really good. It happens, you know - a little blooper here, a little blooper there, all of a sudden it comes back to bite us," said catcher Yasmani Grandal, whose club went 2 for 14 with runners in scoring position.
The Dodgers, who went 0 for 13 in those situations in the first three games, scored eight runs in the series and batted .181 with two homers - both coming in the opener.
They are in strong position to get untracked facing a Padres staff that ranks 25th in the majors with a 4.91 ERA after compiling a 7.07 mark during a five-game skid. San Diego gave up 16 hits in Wednesday's 13-9 loss at San Francisco.
Los Angeles is averaging 6 runs while winning nine straight against San Diego, its longest winning streak in the all-time series since taking 16 in a row from 1973-74.
Adrian Gonzalez has a .415 average with six homers and 10 RBIs in his last 12 home matchups against his former team, getting at least one hit in 10 of them. He enters this series 0 for 11 with five strikeouts over the past four games with his season average plummeting 45 points to .306.
Yasmani Grandal hasn't been much better, going 2 for 16 in the past six games. Unlike Gonzalez, he may not be in line for improvement since he's got a .158 average in 13 career meetings with the Padres, including an 0-for-18 funk over the past six.
The Dodgers are handing the ball to Alex Wood (1-2, 6.00), who won both his starts against the Padres last year behind a 1.29 ERA. He yielded two runs in seven innings of a 6-2 home victory Oct. 2.
Wood hasn't come close to being that effective over his last two starts, getting tagged for 11 runs and 13 hits with six walks in nine innings while losing his only decision. He was reached for five runs with five strikeouts in five innings of a no-decision in a 12-10 win at Colorado on Sunday.
The Padres will counter with Cesar Vargas (0-0, 1.80), who was solid enough in his major-league debut to earn another turn in the rotation with Robbie Erlin on the disabled list because of a strained left elbow.
The 24-year-old Vargas yielded one run and five hits in five-plus innings of a no-decision in an 11-2 loss to St. Louis on Saturday.
"A little upset in the overall results of the game," Vargas said through an interpreter. "Personally, at the end of the day, happy. I was a little inconsistent in my pitches but I went out there and did my work. I'm happy."
Wil Myers isn't exactly jovial despite a career high-tying 12-game hitting streak during which he's batted .373. The first baseman connected for a three-run homer Wednesday, giving him six hits during the five-game skid.
"It's tough, but that's the way baseball goes sometimes," Myers said. "Every team has their ups and downs over the course of a season."