White Sox-Dodgers Preview
After a bit of a rough patch, the Los Angeles Dodgers got back on track behind a superb performance from their ace.
Now they're hoping Dan Haren will also resume his winning ways.
Los Angeles (31-28) had dropped four of five before taking Monday's series opener 5-2. Clayton Kershaw threw eight strong innings and Justin Turner delivered a two-run single as the Dodgers scored five unearned runs in the sixth.
"That's how you win games. You take advantage of one little mistake, and a lot of times it ends up rolling into a big inning," outfielder Scott Van Slyke said. "Good teams do that. When they get the opportunity, they take advantage."
The Dodgers now turn to Haren (5-3, 3.28 ERA), who has fallen off the pace since opening 4-0. The right-hander, 1-3 with a 4.35 ERA in his last five outings, surrendered three runs and eight hits - two homers - over six innings but didn't receive a decision in Thursday's 6-3 loss to Pittsburgh.
"I've been mediocre here for a few starts now," said Haren, who matched a season low with two strikeouts. "Strikeouts have kind of come and gone for me. ... When that many balls get put into play, bad things have to happen."
Haren has been taken deep six times in his last four starts after serving up two in his first seven.
"I think Danny, basically, consistently does what he does," manager Don Mattingly told MLB's official website. "He keeps us in the game. He knows exactly who he is. ... Danny's not going to be a swing-and-miss guy. They're going to put the ball in play. Usually (the home runs) are solos."
Haren is 3-0 with a 3.09 ERA in four appearances against the White Sox since 2011. Adam Dunn is 1 for his last 15 with seven strikeouts in their matchups, and Gordon Beckham and Tyler Flowers are a combined 0 for 12 lifetime.
Abreu hit a two-run homer in his first game back since missing 14 with tendinitis in his left ankle. The slugging first baseman was leading the majors with 15 long balls and ranked second with 42 RBIs before getting hurt.
"It was nice, coming against a guy like Kershaw," manager Robin Ventura said. "It didn't seem like he missed too much of a beat. When we have that guy swinging the bat good, we're a better offense."
The White Sox (29-30) have scored just nine runs while hitting .164 in losing three of four. They'll try to regroup behind Hector Noesi (0-4, 5.83), who is 0-14 with a 5.87 ERA over 40 games - 19 starts - dating to May 2012.
The right-hander is coming off an impressive showing in Wednesday's 3-2 walkoff win over Cleveland, though, yielding one run and five hits over a season-high 7 1-3 innings.
"He's really transitioned well from going as the long guy in the bullpen to being a starter," Ventura said. "I think he's gotten a better feel for some different pitches just because now he's going through the lineup a couple times and he's able to get a feel for it instead of being in there for an inning or an inning and a half."
Noesi went 0-1 with a 3.27 ERA in two interleague starts last month while receiving one run of support in each. This will be his first appearance versus Los Angeles.