Los Angeles Dodgers starter Kenta Maeda has struggled since dazzling his way through his first four major league outings. Los Angeles Angels starter Matt Schoemaker has just plain struggled.
They square off Monday night at Dodger Stadium with Maeda looking to help his club to a fifth straight home win in the Freeway Series.
Maeda (3-2, 2.30 ERA) is coming off his shortest outing yet after giving up four runs and six hits in five innings of Wednesday's 4-3 home loss to the New York Mets. He surrendered a pair of home runs and has given up four in his last three starts after serving up one in his first four.
Those three starts have resulted in a 0-2 record and 5.09 ERA after going 3-0 with a 0.36 mark in the first four. What's worse is the right-hander gave up those latest two homers to opposing pitcher Noah Syndergaard.
"They were definitely not good pitches, the ones that he hit for home runs," Maeda told MLB's official website. "It ended up being a regrettable result contributing to a total of four runs."
That'd probably be a step in the right direction for Shoemaker (1-5, 9.12), who returned to the big leagues after a one-start Triple-A stint to lose his fourth straight major league outing. The right-hander gave up four runs and seven hits in four innings of Wednesday's 5-2 home loss to St. Louis.
On the losing streak, he's made it beyond four innings once and has a 10.91 ERA with a .394 opponent batting average. Granted, luck hasn't been on his side. Shoemaker entered the season with a career .286 average on balls in play. This year, it's .345.
"It's frustrating after that second, third run score, especially after some ground-ball hits," Shoemaker said. "That's going to happen in this game, but it's just even more frustrating in that situation. Two feet, three feet, four feet and that's a double-play ball. That's sometimes the name of the game."
Shoemaker lost his only career start against the Dodgers in 2014 after giving up two runs and six hits in six innings of a 2-1 final.
The Angels (16-21) responded to being swept in consecutive series by sweeping Seattle in three over the weekend. Sunday's 3-0 win was Los Angeles' first shutout of the season, but it's been the lineup that's showing consistency. Over the last four games, the Angels are batting .336 with 7.3 runs per game.
Kole Calhoun is 7 for 14 with three walks in that span, while Johnny Giavotella was 6 for 11 in the series.
"We didn't play a perfect series, obviously, but we got enough things done and were fortunate enough to hold some leads," manager Mike Scioscia said.
The Dodgers won five of six in last season's series, including a three-game sweep last year to give them a four-game home winning streak over the Angels.
The Dodgers (20-18) were unable to complete a three-game sweep of St. Louis on Sunday, falling 5-2 despite a pair of home runs from Corey Seager. The shortstop has homered four times in his last five games and is batting .429 in his last nine.