When things aren't going right, it's always nice to turn to your ace. That's exactly what the Los Angeles Dodgers will do tonight in the finale of a four-game series versus the New York Mets at Chavez Ravine.
Reigning National League Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw looks to pull the Dodgers from the grips of a seven-game losing streak Sunday and is due for a fine performance after going 0-1 in his last two starts and 1-3 in his previous four decisions.
Kershaw was beaten on the road by San Francisco his last time out in Tuesday's 2-0 loss, as he yielded both runs and eight hits in six innings to fall to 5-4 in 16 starts with a 2.74 earned run average. The left-hander hopes to push his 3-3 home mark over .500 tonight and stay unbeaten in his career against the Mets. He is 4-0 with a sparkling 1.39 ERA in five starts in this series.
Los Angeles, which is one game behind San Francisco for the NL West lead, saw starting pitcher Nathan Eovaldi fall to 0-5 on the season in Saturday's 5-0 loss. He allowed all five runs and seven hits in 5 1/3 frames for the Dodgers, who have lost 11 of their last 12 games and have been held scoreless six times over the stretch.
"It's really tough days right now (but) we know we're going to get out of this," said Dodgers manager Don Mattingly. "We have to put runs on the board. When you're not putting up runs you look bad. Right now it's a rough time."
The Dodgers have been held scoreless in 56 of their last 57 innings, and have dropped seven in a row for the first time since an eight-game slide from Aug. 22-29, 2008. They are also playing without sluggers Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier because of injury.
LA is winless (0-3) so far on a seven-game homestand and is slated to host Cincinnati for three games at Dodger Stadium. It has dropped four straight series for the first time since last June.
Meanwhile, the Mets are on a roll and will shoot for a four-game sweep this evening. They have won four straight since losing four in a row and improved to 8-4 in the last 12 contests with Saturday's convincing win.
Mets starter Johan Santana gave up just three hits in eight innings for the victory and improved to 5-0 lifetime against the Dodgers. New York has posted 10 shutouts this season and won 9-0 on Friday. Its starters are 33-19 in 2012.
"I felt good. I threw my fastball inside and they were swinging right away," said Santana. "I threw some sliders and my changeup was good. I just tried to get ahead in the count. We continue to have fun and play good baseball."
Ike Davis hit a three-run homer and both Daniel Murphy and Josh Thole were credited with an RBI. New York is 4-2 on a seven-game road trip and will return to Citi Field tonight for a six-game homestand versus the Phillies and Cubs.
The Mets are now 2 1/2 games behind Washington for the NL East lead and 7-2 in the past nine road tilts.
Dillon Gee draws the start for the Mets this evening and he has lost three of his last four trips to the mound. In Tuesday's 5-3 loss to the Cubs, Gee was reached for four runs and nine hits in five frames to fall to 5-6 in 15 starts to go along with a 4.42 earned run average.
Gee has faced Los Angeles twice in his career, going 0-1 with a 5.73 ERA. Opponents are batting .259 off the right-hander, who has given up at least two runs in each of his past six outings.
New York won five of seven meetings with the Dodgers last season.