Notes: Stults moved to bullpen
With acquisition of Loaiza, left-hander steps into relief role
LOS ANGELES -- With the acquisition of starting pitcher Esteban Loaiza prior to Wednesday's game, pitcher Eric Stults was moved from the rotation to the bullpen.
Stults, who has started three games for the Dodgers this season, is 1-2 with a 4.23 ERA in 27 2/3 innings. Stults beat the Rockies on Aug. 17, going seven innings, allowing just two runs on two hits while striking out nine. The solid performance earned him a spot in the rotation, but on Saturday he didn't fare as well against the Mets, allowing three runs in 4 2/3 innings.
"I just have to go out there and do the best that I can," Stults said. "Basically, I just want to pitch. If that means I'm coming out the bullpen, then that's fine. I'm OK with that. I'm here to help the team."
The Dodgers have lost three starting pitchers to injuries this season -- Jason Schmidt, Randy Wolf and Hong-Chih Kuo -- and their replacements -- Mark Hendrickson and Brett Tomko -- didn't fare very well.
Stults was called up on July 4 and pitched well in his first start of the season on July 22, allowing just two runs on five hits against the Mets at Dodger Stadium. Stults has appeared in four games out of the bullpen this year and is 0-1 with a 5.06 ERA. According to Stults, he has struggled finding a rhythm out of the 'pen, which has produced the higher ERA.
"I think the biggest thing for me is finding a role and getting into a routine," Stults said. "When you're starting, you know you're going to pitch every five days and you get into a rhythm, but out of the bullpen, it's different."
In a pinch: Mark Sweeney drilled a pinch-hit double Tuesday night for the 158th pinch-hit of his career, which ranks second all-time to Washington coach and former Dodger Lenny Harris (212). Ranking third on that list is Dodgers coach Manny Mota. Sweeney is hitting .320 (8-for-20) in the month of August and has three pinch-hits for the Dodgers since being acquired on Aug. 9.
Save me Sammy: Closer Takashi Saito saved his 36th game Tuesday night, the sixth-highest single-season total in franchise history. Saito also surpassed Steve Howe and tied Charlie Hough for ninth place on the all-time Dodgers save list with 60.
Since last year's All-Star break, Saito has a 1.61 ERA, tying him with Minnesota's Joe Nathan for the best mark among all pitchers with 75 or more innings during that span. In addition, Saito has converted 13 consecutive save opportunities going back to July 15, and has yielded just one run in 12 1/3 innings this month.
Kent stop him: Jeff Kent's home run on Tuesday night was the 362nd of his career, surpassing Joe DiMaggio and tying him with Jason Giambi for 65th place on the all-time list.
Streak snapped: Juan Pierre went 0-for-4 in Tuesday night's game, snapping his 15-game hitting streak, one shy of his career best. Pierre is hitting .340 (36-for-106) in the month of August, and has stolen 52 bases this season, which ranks eighth on the Dodgers' single-season list. The 52 thefts are the most by a Dodger since Steve Sax had 56 in 1983.
Coming up: Veteran lefty David Wells (6-8, 5.46 ERA) takes on the NL Wild Card-leading Padres on Friday at 7:05 p.m. PT at PETCO Park.
Jayson Addcox is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.