The Dodgers are in the midst of a season-long 12-game, 14-day homestand and fell to 0-4 on the residency following Friday's 7-3 loss to the Astros in the series opener of the only National League game on tap this weekend. Andre Ethier highlighted a four-hit attack with a two-run homer and Matt Kemp posted the other RBI, as Los Angeles fell a season-worst nine games below the .500 mark for the first time since ending the 2005 campaign with a 71-91 mark.
Ted Lilly drew the start for Don Mattingly's club and was reached for six runs -- five earned -- and eight hits over 5 1/3 innings.
"[Things] can snowball, that's for sure. I've been on a couple of those clubs where we just didn't seem to put anything together," Mattingly said on LA's website. "But it's going to be up to us to not allow that to happen, and we got to find a way to get ourselves back to .500. And we got 21 games before the break, so we have to put a run together before the break and make a little noise with that and see what happens to us."
The Dodgers have lost five in a row as the host and will also welcome the Tigers and Angels to Hollywood on this homestand. They had won four in a row at home against the Astros before last night's loss. Los Angeles third baseman Casey Blake is expected to be back in the starting lineup tonight, and has been battling neck issues recently.
Dodgers rookie pitcher Rubby De La Rosa experienced forearm cramping recently, but is expected to take the hill Saturday. De La Rosa has won two straight starts to run his record to 3-0 in five trips to the hill and was last in action Sunday in a 10-8 victory at Colorado.
De La Rosa, who has gone five innings in consecutive outings, held the Rockies to three runs with a career-high six strikeouts and three walks. The outing actually raised his earned run average from 1.80 to 3.00. The Dominican right- hander made his major league debut in a 5-4 win at Houston on May 24 in a relief role, striking out two batters in an inning of work.
The Dodgers would enjoy seeing De La Rosa throw just as well as Astros veteran righty Brett Myers did in Friday's victory. Myers went the distance for only his third win of the season (3-6) and yielded three runs -- two earned on the blast by Ethier -- and four hits with six strikeouts and one walk.
"It was a little rough early," said Myers, who retired 17 straight batters at one point. "They were aggressive, but I was able to hit my spots. I've thrown some shutouts, so this was not the best game I've ever pitched."
Clint Barmes registered a pair of doubles and two RBI, while Carlos Lee went 3-for-5 with an RBI for Houston, which snapped a three-game skid and posted just its third win in 14 tries. The Astros have the worst record in the majors at 26-45 and will visit the Texas Rangers for three games after this set.
Lee has reached base safely in 18 consecutive games, the longest run since a 23-gamer back in 2008. Brett Wallace has reached base safely in 12 of his previous 15 games.
Houston is 5-1 in Wandy Rodriguez's last six starts and looks to make it six wins in seven tries when the left-hander gets the nod tonight. Rodriguez is 3-0 with a 1.50 earned run average in his last six trips to the mound and tossed six shutout innings the previous time out in an 8-3 win versus Atlanta on June 13.
Rodriguez improved to 4-3 this season with a 3.12 ERA in 11 starts. He has made nine career appearances (8 starts) against the Dodgers, going 3-3 with a 2.68 ERA over that stretch.
Houston took two of three meetings from the Dodgers at Minute Maid Park back in May. The Dodgers went 4-2 against Houston last season and won two of three bouts between the teams held in Los Angeles in 2010.