San Diego Padres' Jedd Gyorko, second from right, is congratulated by teammates Yasmani Grandal (8) and Abraham Almonte (16) after his grand slam as St. Louis Cardinals' A.J. Pierzynski, right, looks away in the seventh inning in a baseball game, Saturday, Aug. 16, 2014, at Busch Stadium in St. Louis.
Bill Boyce / Associated Press
By Jeff BartlAP
Manager Don Mattingly finds the Los Angeles Dodgers' current slump to be nothing more than a regular occurrence for any club during a very long season.
That is, of course, unless they let it spiral out of control.
Los Angeles looks to avoid its longest losing streak of the season as Kevin Correia takes the mound Tuesday night in the opener of a three-game set against the San Diego Padres at Chavez Ravine.
The Dodgers (70-56) fell to Milwaukee 7-2 on Sunday at home, marking the first time in 2014 they've been swept in a three-game series. They have the majors' best road record, but they're just 30-30 at Dodger Stadium and 2-6 this month.
Los Angeles hasn't dropped four in a row since September but had Monday off to regroup and plays sub-.500 opponents in its next 11 games. It holds a 3 1/2-game lead over San Francisco atop the NL West.
"This feels pretty normal for me," Mattingly said. "This club's been a club that we seem to go up and down. And now it'll be the same thing again here, and we'll see how we respond.
"Obviously, you lose three straight, a day off sounds pretty good."
The Dodgers look to bounce back behind Correia (1-0, 1.50 ERA), who will be making his second start since being acquired from Minnesota on Aug. 9.
He allowed one run in six innings of a 6-2 win over Atlanta in his Dodgers debut last Monday. The right-hander is 6-13 with a 4.79 ERA in 24 starts on the season, but he's 1-0 with a 2.50 ERA over his last three.
Correia originally was acquired to pitch out of the bullpen, but he's getting the chance to start with Hyun-Jin Ryu on the disabled list with a strained right glute.
"I haven't had that feeling I don't think since being called up (to the majors for the first time)," Correia said. "I come in and I have a locker next to the best pitcher on the planet (Clayton Kershaw). I couldn't be happier with the spot that I'm in right now."
Correia pitched for San Diego from 2009-10 and faced his former team twice this season with the Twins, allowing three runs in six innings on both May 20 and Aug. 6.
He'll be opposed by Ian Kennedy, who is beginning to feel more comfortable after dealing with a recent injury.
Kennedy (9-10, 3.54) allowed three runs and struck out eight in six innings of a 5-3 win over Colorado on Wednesday, improving to 4-1 with a 2.57 ERA over his last eight starts.
The right-hander missed a turn in the rotation with a minor oblique strain in late July and said his most recent outing felt better than the previous two since the injury.
"I tried to rely on the fastball command," Kennedy said. "For the most part, physically, I was pretty happy how I felt. Best I've felt in a while."
Kennedy will be making his fourth start against the Dodgers this season. He went 0-3 with a 6.51 ERA in his previous six against them before giving up three hits and striking out eight in eight scoreless innings of San Diego's 1-0 loss July 12. That game came at Dodger Stadium, where the USC alumnus has allowed two runs and nine hits in his last 20 2-3 innings.
The Padres (58-65) have lost seven of 10 against Los Angeles this season, and they're coming off losing three of four at St. Louis.
San Diego fell 7-6 on Sunday, but Abraham Almonte's two-run single in the ninth nearly sparked a comeback.
"That's a good sign," manager Bud Black said. "Our guys are playing hard, they're playing their hearts out, which is great."