After spending a few seasons as teammates, the Los Angeles Dodgers' Aaron Harang and San Diego Padres' Edinson Volquez have settled in nicely to their new surroundings.
With Harang trying to build on a couple of impressive outings and Volquez looking to win a third consecutive start for the first time in four years, the NL-worst Padres aim for a season-high third straight victory and two-game sweep of the major league-leading Dodgers on Thursday night.
Harang (2-2, 4.46 ERA) and Volquez (2-2, 2.79), who played together in Cincinnati from 2008-10, have been welcome additions to their new teams.
Harang went 14-7 with San Diego last season before signing a two-year deal with Los Angeles (24-13), and he seems to be on track following a bit of a rough start. The right-hander improved to 1-0 with a 1.93 ERA in two outings this month after yielding a run and four hits over a season-high eight innings in Saturday's 2-1 win over Colorado.
"I felt good. I felt like I was locating the ball well and I was able to keep them off-balance," he said. "The defense was there to back me up, and these guys battled out there to the last inning and got us the victory."
While Harang went 3-0 with a 2.60 ERA over his first four starts against the Padres, he's gone 0-5 with a 5.84 ERA in his last seven.
Harang opened 2012 with two outings versus San Diego, during which he went 0-1 with a 5.91 ERA. He did, however, strike out a career best-tying 13 during a 9-8 victory April 13.
Acquired from the Reds during the offseason, Volquez is 2-0 with a 1.42 ERA over his last four outings - all Padres wins. The right-hander threw six innings of one-run ball Saturday to earn his second victory in as many starts, 2-1 at Philadelphia.
"Everything was working tonight," Volquez, who hasn't won three consecutive starts since May 7-18, 2008, told MLB's official website.
Volquez is 0-1 with a 5.40 ERA in two starts against the Dodgers this season, allowing nine hits, nine walks and striking out nine over 10 innings.
The Padres (14-24) are coming off just their fourth victory in 20 meetings with the Dodgers, 4-2 on Wednesday. Clayton Richard threw seven strong innings and Chase Headley went 2 for 3 with a home run and three RBIs.
Three of Headley's five homers and 11 of his 20 RBIs this season have come against the Dodgers, and he's 6 for 18 in the last six meetings.
Continuing to play without injured slugger Matt Kemp, Los Angeles went 0 for 5 with runners in scoring position Wednesday and collected just five hits - its third-lowest total of the year.
"We're not good enough to come down here and get (five) hits and think we're going to win a game," manager Don Mattingly said. "I don't care what kind of record we've got, what kind of record they've got, you come in here and get (five) hits and don't give yourself a chance to score, you're not going to win."
San Diego hasn't won three in a row since sweeping Colorado on the road Sept. 19-21.
The Associated Press News Service
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