This season's meetings between the Los Angeles Angels and Los Angeles Dodgers were expected to pit teams among the best in their respective leagues.
The clubs haven't lived up to expectations, and neither has Joe Blanton since signing with the Angels after spending the latter part of 2012 with the Dodgers.
Blanton faces his former team Tuesday night when the visiting Angels look to bounce back from their first loss in nine games.
The Angels (23-28) and Dodgers (21-28) each spent hundreds of millions of dollars in free agency in hopes of competing for a World Series crown, but both are simply hoping to turn around their disappointing starts to reach the .500 mark in the near future.
An eight-game winning streak helped the Angels build some confidence, but they blew a five-run lead in the series opener Monday as the Dodgers rallied for an 8-7 win.
``Hopefully we'll start a new streak tomorrow,'' Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. ``Although we didn't win, there were a lot of good things that happened on the field. We've just got to carry that into tomorrow and start all over again.''
Albert Pujols and Howie Kendrick each had three hits for the Angels, while Mark Ellis and Scott Van Slyke each drove in two runs before Jerry Hairston Jr.'s RBI single broke a tie in the seventh inning for the Dodgers.
Hairston was activated from the disabled list prior to the game after missing the previous 18 with a strained groin.
``It can definitely be a momentum builder, but you can't have momentum unless you come out tomorrow and play hard,'' said Adrian Gonzalez, who had four hits and is 9 for 11 with seven RBIs over his last three games.
Matt Kemp, though, continued to struggle and went hitless in five at-bats with four strikeouts, one day after being benched. He's 0 for 12 with eight strikeouts over his last four games.
``When things aren't going your way you try harder,'' Gonzalez said. ``He's trying too hard for the team and the fans.''
Blanton (1-7, 6.19 ERA) spent the last part of 2012 with the Dodgers after being acquired from Philadelphia, going 2-4 with a 4.99 ERA in 10 starts. He signed a two-year, $15 million deal with the Angels in December, but he's mainly struggled.
The right-hander picked up his first win with the Angels on Thursday, giving up two runs in 6 1-3 innings of a 5-4 victory over Kansas City. He gave up 11 runs in nine innings over his previous two starts.
"Joe has pitched some strong games and maybe hasn't benefited from run support," said Scioscia, whose lineup has provided Blanton with just 10 runs of support over his last six starts. "There's no doubt that getting him pitching to his capabilities is important to us. It's good for him to get the first win."
Blanton is 2-0 with a 3.26 ERA in six career starts against Dodgers, who will counter with Hyun-Jin Ryu.
Ryu (5-2, 3.30) has allowed two or fewer runs in five of his last six outings, and he's 2-0 with a 2.37 ERA over his last three. He gave up two runs in a season-high 7 1-3 innings of Wednesday's 9-2 win over Milwaukee.
The rookie left-hander is 3-1 with a 2.13 ERA in four starts at home, striking out 26 in 25 1-3 innings.
Despite Monday's win, the Dodgers have lost 13 of 19 to the Angels and nine of the last 13 meetings at home.