Can it get much better for the Diamondbacks than a road sweep of the Los Angeles Dodgers?
Maybe if it were the playoffs, but for now the D-backs could hardly be riding higher than after taking a trio of games from the Dodgers. Granted, it followed a series loss to the Padres, but it’s hard to find better momentum than a series sweep of a rival as you return home for seven-game stand.
The home stand starts with the middling Philadelphia Phillies, who come to Phoenix at 16-19 and five games back of the NL East lead. Here’s a look at what’s ahead in the four-game series that starts Thursday, with first pitch at 6:40 p.m. on FOX Sports Arizona.
Pitching matchups: Thursday — LHP Patrick Corbin (4-0, 1.80 ERA) vs. LHP Cole Hamels (1-4, 4.34). Friday — RHP Ian Kennedy (1-3, 5.19) vs. RHP Tyler Cloyd (1-3, 5.40 at Triple-A Lehigh Valley). Saturday — RHP Trevor Cahill (2-3, 2.80) vs. LHP Cliff Lee (3-2, 3.26). Sunday — RHP Brandon McCarthy (0-3, 6.75) vs. RHP Kyle Kendrick (4-1, 2.45). Who’s hot for the D-backs: There’s no one hotter on the D-backs or perhaps in all of baseball than first baseman Paul Goldschmidt, who Dodgers manager Don Mattingly called “a one-man wrecking crew” after Goldschmidt hit go-ahead home runs in all three games against the Dodgers. It was the first time in his career Goldschmidt homered in three consecutive games, and a pair of long balls in the finale gave the 25-year-old his first multi-homer game. He went 7 for 13 with four home runs and nine RBI in the series. … Thursday starter Patrick Corbin is the only NL pitcher to open the season with six starts of six innings or more and fewer than three runs. The D-backs look to improve to 7-0 with the lefty on the mound, and Corbin looks to win his fifth game of the year opposite three-time All-Star and 2008 World Series MVP Cole Hamels.
Who’s not: Friday starter Ian Kennedy has not been himself this season, and D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said as much this week. Kennedy is trying to adjust his mechanics but is 0-3 with a 5.70 ERA since his lone win on Opening Day. … Third baseman Martin Prado continues to struggle and got a day off Tuesday. He went 5 for 21 (.238) on the road trip and has just one RBI since April 18. … Sunday starting pitcher Brandon McCarthy remains winless (0-3) through seven starts for the D-backs. His 6.75 ERA has not helped matters, but his first quality start Tuesday was a good sign the right-hander is getting more comfortable. Who’s hot for the Phillies: After a pair of rough outings to start the season, Thursday starter Hamels has posted five consecutive quality starts, with 2.31 ERA in that span. … Since giving up five runs in a loss April 5, Sunday starting pitcher Kyle Kendrick has gone 4-0 with a 1.71 ERA. He has not allowed more than eight hits in a game all season and has a streak of six straight quality starts intact. … Chase Utley leads the Phillies with 24 RBI after notching three home runs and seven RBI over the past 10 days.
Who’s not: Since April 23, Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins has struggled. He’s gone 11 for 55 (.200) with just two RBI. … Outfielder Ben Revere is just 25 for 107 (.234) with five RBI and a .281 on-base percentage. … Outfielder John Mayberry Jr. is 17 for 80 (.213) with six RBI. Notes, quotes, odds and ends: The D-backs on Wednesday placed closer J.J. Putz on the disabled list with a right elbow strain. In his place the team recalled reliever Will Harris from Triple-A Reno. Harris, who was present but not called on Wednesday, was an early-April waiver claim from the Oakland A’s. Harris had two saves and a 4.63 ERA in 12 appearances with Reno. … With Putz out, the D-backs have turned the closer role over to Heath Bell, who has successfully closed out the last two games. … With two-time Cy Young winner Roy Halladay headed for shoulder surgery, righty Tyler Cloyd gets the start against the D-backs on Friday instead. It will be his seventh big league start. …The Phillies have won six of their last eight games with the D-backs, hitting .309 and averaging 5.4 runs per game.