LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers open a series with the Cardinals, hoping that reinforcements are on the way.

Shortstop Rafael Furcal, disabled with a back sprain, is expected to be activated for the game, barring a setback. Furcal would really like to return against Cardinals starter Adam Wainwright. He's 5-for-9 against him lifetime.

Outfielder Andruw Jones, sidelined by torn cartilage in his right knee, is also hopeful he can return to the lineup, although his condition is almost certain to eventually require surgery and club officials are not certain he will be able to play through the discomfort, which he concedes has been a contributing factor to his poor start.

The Dodgers also are hopeful that the day off Thursday regenerates second baseman Jeff Kent, who went 0-for-4 Wednesday night and is in a 5-for-48 slide, lowering his average from .298 to .234. His current slugging percentage of .376 is 126 points below his lifetime average.

Dodgers starter Derek Lowe will be looking for his first win since April 23.

Pitching matchup
LAD: RHP Derek Lowe (2-4, 5.34 ERA)
Lowe volunteered to start on short rest when Brad Penny's arm tightened and it turned into a short start on Sunday. Lowe was victimized by a James Loney throwing error, then let things get completely out of hand with an 0-2 pitch that Mike Napoli hit for a three-run homer. He was charged with seven runs on 10 hits in five innings and spent most of that time fuming on the mound over all that went wrong. He's gone a month since his last win.

STL: RHP Adam Wainwright (3-2, 3.25 ERA)
For many pitchers, it would just be a blip, but for Wainwright, two rough starts in a row qualifies as a slump. He's throwing strikes, but he's giving up a lot of contact. It's far too early to get worried, but Wainwright needs to be at his best for the Cardinals to keep challenging for the National League Central title.

Tidbits
Hiroki Kuroda's win Wednesday night was the first by a Dodgers starter other than Chad Billingsley since Penny's May 2 victory, a span of 17 games. ... Loney's fifth home run tied Furcal for the club lead. ... Takashi Saito, who walked four batters over three consecutive outings in April, has one walk in 10 appearances since. ... The Dodgers Dream Foundation will hold its annual charity golf invitational Thursday at Trump National Golf Club in Rancho Palos Verdes. Fernando Valenzuela, Jonathan Broxton, Billingsley, Chin-lung Hu, Joe Beimel, Scott Proctor, Don Newcombe, Maury Wills, Tommy Davis, Sweet Lou Johnson, Mariano Duncan, Tim Leary and local broadcasters Jim Hill, Steve Lyons and Michael Eaves will participate in the event and spots are still available.

Tickets
 Buy tickets now to catch the game in person.

On the Internet
 MLB.TV
 Gameday Audio
•  Gameday
•  Official game notes

On television
• PRIME-HD

On radio
• KABC 790, KHJ 930 (Español)

Up next
• Saturday: Dodgers (Brad Penny, 5-4, 5.34) vs. Cardinals (Kyle Lohse, 3-2, 4.71), 7:10 p.m. PT
• Sunday: Dodgers (Chad Billingsley, 4-5, 3.76) vs. Cardinals (Joel Pineiro, 2-3, 4.50), 1:10 p.m. PT
• Monday: Dodgers (Hiroki Kuroda, 1-3, 3.60) at Cubs (Ryan Dempster, 5-2, 2.70), 11:20 a.m. PT