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05/18/08 9:42 PM ET

Dodgers need ace effort from Penny

Los Angeles (22-21) vs. Cincinnati (21-23), Monday, 7:10 p.m. PT

LOS ANGELES -- After showing signs that work with special hitting coach Don Mattingly might be bringing outfielder Andruw Jones out of his season-long slump, Jones seemed to regress in this weekend's Angels series.

Jones homered Thursday in the series finale in Milwaukee, where Mattingly spent three days working with Jones. But in the three-game series in Anaheim, Jones went 0-for-10 with four strikeouts and a walk. On Sunday, he was 0-for-3 with two strikeouts.

"He's falling back into bad habits of flying out of there," manager Joe Torre said.

Meanwhile, Brad Penny said the tightness in his arm is nothing serious. Torre said he probably overreacted in holding Penny back one day, and the Dodgers will find out Monday night, when Penny starts against the Reds.

Penny has not looked anything like the two-time All-Star that opened last season 13-1. For comparison sake, he brings a 5.09 ERA into Monday night's start, double the 2.54 ERA he had after the same nine starts last year.

The Dodgers are in need of an ace-like effort from Penny, who has allowed 15 runs while losing his past two starts.

"Penny probably overthinks things," Torre said when comparing Penny to Derek Lowe. "He has more weapons. Penny, with whatever he's been dealing with, certainly has been inconsistent."

Penny is 7-2 with a 3.00 ERA in 11 career starts against the Reds, including an April 21 win in Cincinnati, where he allowed one run over six innings.

Pitching matchup
LAD: RHP Brad Penny (5-4, 5.09 ERA)
In his last outing in Milwaukee, Penny couldn't protect a two-run lead and walked the opposing pitcher on four pitches to trigger the winning three-run rally. Penny still has velocity and he's mixing in his splitter more, but his location is erratic. He already has as many losses as he did all last season.

CIN: RHP Bronson Arroyo (2-4, 6.08 ERA)
Arroyo pitched seven scoreless innings, but received a no-decision in the Reds' 7-6 win over the Marlins on Wednesday. He allowed five hits, walked three and recorded four strikeouts -- three of which came in the seventh when he struck out the side. Arroyo has pitched 12 consecutive scoreless innings, and has allowed just one run over his last 15 innings.

With Sunday's loss, Los Angeles fell 5 1/2 games behind National League West-leading Arizona. The Dodgers haven't been 6 1/2 games back since April 28. ... Going into Sunday's loss, Lowe was 3-0 lifetime working on three days' rest. ... Dodgers Hall of Fame right-hander Don Sutton will be at the game Monday night, helping to educate the United States on kidney cancers. Sutton, 63, has been living with advanced kidney cancer, and is sharing his story through the Stay in the Game program in order to provide inspiration and encouragement for others touched by the disease.

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On the Internet
 Gameday Audio
•  Gameday
•  Official game notes

On television

On radio
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Up next
• Tuesday: Dodgers (Chad Billingsley, 3-5, 4.34) vs. Reds (Matt Belisle, 1-3, 7.45), 7:10 p.m. PT
• Wednesday: Dodgers (Hiroki Kuroda, 1-3, 3.67) vs. Reds (Johnny Cueto, 2-4, 5.75), 7:10 p.m. PT
• Thursday: Off-day

Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.