No rest for the Dodgers

No rest for the Dodgers

LOS ANGELES -- The Dog Days of Summer just got a little more taxing for the Dodgers.

Friday night at Dodger Stadium, the club played the first of 20 games in 20 days. The stretch includes the current three-game series against the Marlins, a four-game trip to St. Louis, and three games in Atlanta. Then the Dodgers head back home for three games against the Brewers and four more against the Braves, before ending the stint with three games in San Francisco.

The team's next day off is Aug. 13.

While St. Louis and Atlanta can be unfriendly places in the summer months because of scorching temperatures, Dodgers manager Joe Torre pointed out that the club is fortunate in one respect.

"You have to keep an eye on those day games, but we don't have any," Torre said of how long stretches of games affect his managing strategy.

The Dodgers play at home Sunday afternoon, but the club will avoid the sun's heat when it heads east.

All four games in St. Louis are at night, and the Dodgers luck out with a 4 p.m. ET start Saturday in Atlanta and then play in prime time Sunday night on ESPN.

But though the 8 p.m. ET start on Sunday might save them from the Atlanta heat, it will make for a long night of cross-country travel.

The Dodgers play the following Monday at home.

"You'd like people who make that schedule to jump on the plane with you so they understand what it's like," Torre said.

Pitching matchup
LAD: RHP Hiroki Kuroda (3-5, 4.73 ERA)
Kuroda had one bad inning out of five against the Astros last time out. He allowed three runs, including a two-run homer by Geoff Blum. But he also allowed seven hits and struck out only one. When at his best, he gets ahead in counts and makes defensive hitters chase splitters in the dirt, but it hasn't been happening a lot lately. Manager Joe Torre believes Kuroda overthrows, causing a mechanical flaw that results in pulling his pitches as they are delivered.

FLA: RHP Rick VandenHurk (1-0, 3.00 ERA)
Called up from Triple-A New Orleans on Monday, VandenHurk worked six innings that night at San Diego, tossing 88 pitches. The 24-year-old right-hander kept the Padres off the board for 5 2/3 innings, before surrendering back-to-back homers to Adrian Gonzalez and Kevin Kouzmanoff. VandenHurk was 4-1 with a 2.77 ERA in nine starts for New Orleans. He has never faced the Dodgers. VandenHurk collected his first win since June 22, 2008, against the Braves.

After Friday's loss, the Dodgers are 12-6 in July. ... Clayton Kershaw has an 0.92 ERA (five earned runs in 48 2/3 innings) over his last eight starts since June 16, which is the best in baseball over that time. ... Dodgers reliever Ramon Troncoso gave up an earned run Friday for the first time since June 16, a span of 15 appearances. ... Andre Ethier went 3-for-4 with two doubles and two RBIs on Friday. The two doubles give him 21 on the season and make him the 10th player in the Majors with at least 20 homers and 20 doubles.

 Buy tickets now to catch the game in person.

On the Internet
 Gameday Audio
•  Gameday
•  Official game notes

On television

On radio
• KABC 790, KHJ 930 (Español)

Up next
• Sunday: Dodgers (Jason Schmidt, 1-0, 5.40) vs. Marlins (Chris Volstad, 7-9, 4.34), 1:10 p.m. PT
• Monday: Dodgers (Randy Wolf, 5-4, 3.45) at Cardinals (Chris Carpenter, 8-3, 2.26), 4:10 p.m. PT
• Tuesday: Dodgers (Chad Billingsley, 10-5, 3.72) at Cardinals (Adam Wainwright, 11-6, 2.95), 5:15 p.m. PT

David Ely is an associate reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.