On the heels of a series loss to the Giants, the Diamondbacks arrive in L.A. looking to get going back in the right direction.
The starting rotation, except young ace Patrick Corbin of course, is scuffling badly and a somewhat streaky offense can only bail it out so much. Injuries remain an issue, with Aaron Hill, Eric Chavez, J.J. Putz and Brandon McCarthy all sidelined.
But despite it all, the D-backs still possess a 1 1/2-game lead in the NL West. The lead appears vulnerable, but a little success in L.A., where the D-backs swept the Dodgers May 6-8, could bolster it. As the D-backs begin a six-game road trip, here’s what to look for as they start against the Dodgers:
PITCHING MATCHUPS: Monday — LHP Wade Miley (4-5, 4.92 ERA) vs. LHP Clayton Kershaw (5-4, 1.93). Tuesday — RHP Ian Kennedy (3-4, 5.72) vs. RHP Zack Greinke (3-1, 3.89). Wednesday — LHP Patrick Corbin vs. LHP Hyun-Jin Ryu (6-2, 2.72).
WHO’S HOT FOR THE D-BACKS: Patrick Corbin ought to be 10-0 by now, but a quiet night from the offense behind him Friday kept him at 9-0 after a one-run performance. Corbin’s 1.98 ERA is third lowest in the NL, only a sliver behind Shelby Miller (1.93) of the Cardinals and Monday’s starter for the Dodgers, Clayton Kershaw (1.91) … Closer Heath Bell, filling in for the injured Putz, has converted seven straight save chances and has held opponents scoreless in 13 of his last 14 appearances, not allowing a run since May 12. … Paul Goldschmidt went hitless Saturday and Sunday but Saturday tied a D-backs record with eight straight games with an RBI. His 58 RBI lead the NL and trail only Detroit’s Miguel Cabrera in all of baseball.
WHO’S NOT: Third baseman Martin Prado went hitless against the Giants, finishing the three-game series 0 for 10 and reaching base only once on a walk. … Over his last three starts, Ian Kennedy has a 9.00 ERA. Much of that is due to a 10-run outing against the Cardinals last week, but the D-backs’ supposed No. 1 starter has not found his form yet this season. … Outfielder Cody Ross has one hit in his last 13 at-bats. Ross’s .253 batting average is at its lowest point since May 3.
WHO’S HOT FOR THE DODGERS: There may be no one hotter in baseball right now than Dodgers rookie sensation Yasiel Puig. The 22-year-old outfielder has played just seven major league games and already tallied two doubles, four home runs and 10 RBI. According to Elias Sports Bureau, his 13 hits through his first seven games are the most by a Dodgers player in his big league debut since 1900. … Though he took a loss, Clayton Kershaw only allowed two runs in his last start. He has allowed more than three runs in just two of 13 starts this season.
WHO’S NOT: Since the last time outfielder Andre Ethier recorded an RBI, May 20, he is 8 for 56 (.143) with three doubles. … Second baseman Mark Ellis is having a rough June so far, going 1 for 19 (.053) with no RBI and only one walk. NOTES, QUOTES, ODDS AND ENDS: The D-backs have won four straight games against the Dodgers and are 5-1 against them this season, including a sweep May 6-8. … Goldschmidt has tormented the Dodgers this season, hitting .458 (11 for 24) against them with four home runs and 11 RBI in six games. Much of that came in the May sweep at Dodger Stadium, where Goldschmidt went 7 for 13 with four home runs and nine RBI. He is a career .389 hitter with a .468 on-base percentage at the park. … Of the team’s recent success on the road, Goldschmidt said this Sunday: “It’s usually the other way around. I don’t know, it’s just part of it. You play half your games on the road and half at home, so you just show up and play hard every day.” … Corbin on Wednesday gets another chance to become the first D-backs’ pitcher to start the season 10-0. … The D-backs are 12-0 when Corbin pitches and 11-2 when Goldschmidt homers. … The Dodgers are without outfielder Matt Kemp, who has not played since May 29 due to a hamstring injury and suffered a setback Sunday.