The Dodgers open up a three-game series on Tuesday night against the Oakland Athletics, the start of a nine-game road trip. The Dodgers haven't played in Oakland since 2006, when they were swept by the A's. The Dodgers are 2-9 all-time in interleague play in Oakland, with their last win coming on July 14, 2001, when a pair of bases loaded walks in the 15th inning gave the Dodgers a 5-3 win.
Aaron Harang gets the start for the Dodgers on Tuesday night, looking to win his third straight decision. This is the first start for Harang in Oakland since 2003, when he was an Athletic. Harang made his major league debut with the A's in 2002 and was teammates then with current Dodgers Ted Lilly and Mark Ellis. Of the three, only Ellis made it into the movie Moneyball as a character.
"I had a good time there. It was a good group of guys. It's crazy because 10 years later I'm playing with two of the guys who were on my team," Harang said. "It's going to be fun to go back and pitch there."
The Cincinnati Reds played in Oakland three times during Harang's eight years with the Reds, but his turn to start never came up.
Harang had a 5.72 ERA in April, but since the beginning of May is 4-1 with a 2.37 ERA in eight starts, with six quality starts. He said he hasn't done anything differently, other than constantly working on his delivery throughout the season.
"You always go through ups and downs, and we've been making sure that mechanically everything is sharp when I'm throwing bullpens and doing towel drills," Harang said. "Maybe that could have something to do with it, making me aware of getting better extension when I release the ball."
Harang last started one week ago, allowing two unearned runs in seven innings to the Angels. Because of the Dodgers having two off days in a five-day span, Harang is pitching Tuesday on six days rest, as Nathan Eovaldi will on Wednesday.
"With the extra rest, I almost feel like I'm in college again," Harang joked.
Harang is part of a Dodgers starting pitching staff that ranks second in the National League in ERA, third in wins, fourth in quality starts, and tied for fourth in FIP. The six starters on the Dodgers have developed a friendly rivalry and a sense of competition on the staff.
"We all want each other to do really well, you root for each guy each night, and you hope that they go out and do better than you did the night before," Harang said. "That's what makes your team bond, too."
If Harang can top Chris Capuano's eight-inning, 12-strikeout performance from Sunday, the Dodgers will be in business on Tuesday night in Oakland.
Brandon McCarthy starts for the A's on Tuesday, looking to win his sixth straight decision. Oakland has won each of his last six starts, during which McCarthy has given up just 10 runs. He has given up two earned runs or fewer in nine of his 11 starts, and has a 1.85 ERA in six starts at home with a strikeout-to-walk ratio of 4.14.
Tuesday night features a battle between the team that has played the most one-run games in baseball against a team that has played the fewest. The Dodgers have played 31 games decided by one run, including each of their last four games. The Dodgers, 18-13 in one-run contests, have played four more one-run games than the Pittsburgh Pirates, who are second.
Oakland is 6-7 in one-run games this season, and are tied with the Cleveland Indians for fewest one-run games in baseball.
|DH||Abreu (L)||LF||Smith (L)
|CF||Gwynn (L)||SS||Pennington (S)
Game Time: 7:07 p.m.