The Los Angeles Angels’ C.J. Wilson saw his struggles continue in his return to the mound last week.
Hyun-jin Ryu has been at the top of his game for the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Wilson takes the mound opposite Ryu as these freeway rivals close a four-game home-and-home series Thursday night at Angel Stadium.
Opponents are hitting .416 against Wilson (8-7, 4.74 ERA) in his last five starts, a stretch in which he’s allowed 25 earned runs over 18 innings. After missing three weeks with a sprained ankle, Wilson was tagged for six runs before exiting with one out in the second inning of Saturday’s 10-3 loss at Tampa Bay.
"It felt good to get back out there – it’s been a long time since I’ve been playing," he told MLB’s official website. "But it’s obviously frustrating to lose the game in the first two innings like that."
Wilson has won six straight decisions at home, but he’s posted a 10.38 ERA in his last three starts there.
"We need him," manager Mike Scioscia said. "We need him to figure it out. We need him to get back to making pitches and being effective."
Wilson was also knocked around in his last appearance against the Dodgers, giving up six runs over 4 2-3 innings in an 8-7 loss at Chavez Ravine on May 27, 2013.
While Wilson hasn’t been able to find his form, Ryu (12-5, 3.39) has pitched especially well of late. The left-hander has gone 3-0 with a 2.42 ERA over his last four starts while striking out 28 and walking three in 26 innings.
Ryu gave up two runs over seven innings in Saturday’s 5-2, 12-inning victory over the Chicago Cubs.
Ryu has compiled a 2.89 ERA on the road, more than a full run lower than his home mark of 3.94 ERA. The South Korean native threw a two-hit shutout in his only matchup against the Angels, a 3-0 home victory May 28, 2013.
After splitting two games in Los Angeles, the Dodgers (65-50) held on for a 2-1 victory in Anaheim on Wednesday. Dan Haren carried a shutout into the eighth to snap a five-start losing streak and Matt Kemp went deep again.
Kemp is batting .386 with six homers and 12 RBIs in his last 12 games. However, the two-time All-Star is 5 for his last 38 in this rivalry.
The Angels (67-46), who also fell 5-4 on Tuesday, haven’t dropped three in a row since a season-worst four-game skid May 30-June 3. They’re on the verge of their longest losing streak against the Dodgers since a four-game slide in 2006.
Mike Trout is hitting .245 in 13 games against the Dodgers, one of his lowest marks against any team. The AL MVP candidate is 4 for his last 30 with 11 strikeouts at home.
Trout, who turns 23 on Thursday, has homered in both of his previous games played on his birthday.
Dodgers first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, 1 for 17 with one RBI in six games this month, is batting .152 over an 11-game stretch against the Angels. He’s 7 for 13 with two doubles against Wilson, though.
Despite Wednesday’s win, the Dodgers are 2-6 in their last eight games in Anaheim.