LOS ANGELES — Two teams in search of some offensive consistency will meet Tuesday in an all-California interleague matchup at Dodger Stadium.
The Los Angeles Dodgers and Oakland A’s will open a brief two-game series with hits and runs on their minds, not to mention their sub-.500 records.
The Dodgers are just 3-6 as the top three hitters in their batting order this season have a combined .261 on-base percentage, third worst in baseball before play Monday.
The A’s are 4-7 in the early going and were nearly no-hit by the Angels‘ Shohei Ohtani on Sunday after looking like they were finding an offensive groove earlier in the series at Anaheim.
The A’s had scored 16 runs in the two games at Anaheim to start the weekend, with the outburst coming after an opening-season homestand when they scored one run in a game twice and three runs in a game three times.
Then on Sunday, they didn’t get a base runner until one out in the seventh inning, although that might have been more about Othani’s excellence.
“No, I think we have a great team, a great group of guys and phenomenal hitters,” said the A’s Matt Joyce, who concluded the series against the Angels with a ninth-inning home run Sunday. “One through nine, I think we can do what it takes to put runs on the board and give ourselves the chance to win.”
Without middle-of-the-order threat Justin Turner (wrist fracture), the Dodgers’ offense has gotten off to a slow start that has looked nothing like their dynamic offense of 2017.
The Dodgers failed to score a run in their first two games, then lost all three at Arizona last week, scoring one run in the final 18 innings of that series. They scored seven runs in two days this past weekend while splitting a rain-shortened series at San Francisco.
“We’ve just got to find ways to get those big hits,” Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp said, according to the Los Angeles Times.
In a twist of fate, the Dodgers were playing the A’s this spring when a Kendall Graveman fastball hit Turner on the wrist, leaving Los Angeles at its current disadvantage. Graveman will not pitch in the upcoming series, having struggled with his control Sunday against the Angels.
The Dodgers did a last-minute rotation flip-flop going into the series against the A’s. Alex Wood was supposed to start Tuesday’s opener, but he will be pushed back to Wednesday after coming down with a case of food poisoning in San Francisco.
Hyun-Jin Ryu will now start for the Dodgers on Tuesday instead of Wednesday, making his first appearance since struggling April 2 when he walked five batters and lasted just 3 2/3 innings. In his previous four major league seasons, he has not faced the A’s.
Oakland left-hander Sean Manaea will look to extend his early-season dominance in Tuesday’s game. He has given up a combined two earned runs in his first 15 2/3 innings and has 11 strikeouts to just one walk. Manaea has never faced the Dodgers in 56 career games.