Pitching slump center of LA's losing streak

Pitching slump center of LA's losing streak

LOS ANGELES -- For the Dodgers, it was deja vu all over again.

One night after seeing the game get out of hand as the Pirates plated nine runs in one inning, a big inning doomed the Dodgers once again on Monday, as the club lost its fourth straight game, 8-3.

Starter Brett Anderson had yet to allow more than four runs in a game all season but recorded his worst start of the year on Monday. Anderson (6-7) was tagged for seven runs and 10 hits -- both season highs -- in five-plus innings.

"My stuff was just bad," Anderson said. "I don't know if I was just tired or what, but it caught up with me in the sixth. Just a bad day."

It was the sixth inning that was his undoing. Anderson had allowed four hits and two runs in the first five innings. In the sixth, however, Anderson got roughed up, as seven straight Nationals reached base. Anderson departed to a chorus of boos, and the Nationals had a 7-0 lead by the end of the inning.

"He was throwing the ball good and he was cruising pretty good, but then he hit the snag there and couldn't seem to get an out there," Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said.

The Dodgers dropped their fourth straight game, the first time this season the club has endured a four-game losing streak, making it the last team in the Majors to do so. For Mattingly, the fix is simple.

"Get the ball to Zack Greinke," he said about Tuesday's starter. "Take your chances."

Even Greinke, the Major League leader in ERA, was roughed up for six runs in his last outing, and the entire Dodgers pitching staff has been beleaguered since the All-Star break. After posting a 3.30 ERA before the time off, which was the fourth-best mark in the Majors, the Dodgers have a 4.59 ERA in 22 games after the break, which is 22nd in the big leagues.

To add pitching depth, the Dodgers acquired a pair of starters and a pair of relievers to shore up the staff at the Trade Deadline.

Starters Alex Wood and Mat Latos have a 5.56 and a 6.30 ERA in two starts each. Reliever Jim Johnson has a 29.45 ERA in four appearances with the Dodgers, including an outing Sunday in which he allowed eight runs in two-thirds of an inning.

While it's a small sample size, the Dodgers are relying on their starters to provide quality innings to get deeper into games and get the ball to closer Kenley Jansen.

"I think that's the key to our success, getting good starting pitching, good defense and getting further back into the bullpen and having [the relievers] get five or six outs instead of nine outs," Mattingly said. "You hit spots where you don't, and you tax guys out in the bullpen."

Steve Bourbon is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.