The Los Angeles Dodgers had swept consecutive series for a six-game winning streak when they began a series with the NL Central’s last-place team.
The Chicago Cubs took the first game, played the Dodgers tough in a 12-inning game, then finished off the series with a 7-3 win. The lone game the Dodgers managed to salvage was started by Hyun-Jin Ryu.
Dan Haren and Josh Beckett struggled in their respective starts, which has been a recurring theme for the two veteran pitchers. Haren has lost five straight decisions, while Beckett is 1-2 in his last five starts and failed to make it past the fifth inning in each of those outings.
Despite the backend of the rotation faltering, manager Don Mattingly doesn’t envision sending either Beckett or Haren to the bullpen, via MLB.com’s Ken Gurnick:
It sounds great, but you got to have a starter,” he said. “You still can’t just, all of a sudden, have a bullpen day. It’s not Spring Training. We’ve tried to use the off-days to give Danny a break. We tried to use the All-Star break and the DL to give Josh a break. You do whatever you can, but you don’t just have all these guys just to be able to use anybody you want.”
Placing more strain on the situation is Paul Maholm’s ACL tear and the Dodgers decision to not trade any of their elite prospects to acquire a pitcher.
That conceivably could change with the Aug. 31 waiver deadline, but Mattingly expressed hope Beckett will turn his season back around and compared him to Adrian Gonzalez:
It’s up for discussion with Ned and his guys,” Mattingly said of possible reinforcements. “We’re always trying to get better. But [Adrian Gonzalez] was struggling for a while and we didn’t do anything with him. I feel Josh is going to get better and come out of this thing. You can’t make changes all the time.”
The Dodgers begin a four-game set with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim on Monday, which will start with Zack Greinke and Clayton Kershaw taking the ball in the first two games. The series will then shift to Anaheim, where Mattingly indicated Haren remains on track to start Wednesday’s game.
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