Diamondbacks-Dodgers Preview

Paul Goldschmidt looks right at home at Chavez Ravine. The Los
Angeles Dodgers have to be pleased that he won’t be there much
longer.

Goldschmidt and the Arizona Diamondbacks go for the sweep
Wednesday night when the last-place Dodgers try to avoid a
season-worst seventh straight loss.

After going 4 for 5 with a two-run homer and three RBIs in
Monday’s 9-2 victory, Goldschmidt drove in three in Tuesday’s 5-3
win, including a tie-breaking two-run shot in the ninth.

He’s batting .457 (16 for 35) with four homers and 11 RBIs in
his last nine games visiting the Dodgers (13-19).

“(Goldschmidt has) been great since I put him in the No. 3 spot
– he’s done an exceptional job,” said manager Kirk Gibson, whose
team has won 14 of 19 at Dodger Stadium and 14 of 17 overall in
this NL West matchup.

Goldschmidt, though, is 1 for 14 with seven strikeouts – his
most against any pitcher – versus Wednesday’s scheduled starter
Clayton Kershaw (3-2, 1.66 ERA).

The only NL pitcher with more than 44 2-3 innings pitched and
nine runs allowed or fewer, the left-hander has to be in the early
discussion for Cy Young honors. Kershaw, the 2011 winner, may have
delivered his best performance of the season in Friday’s 2-1 loss
at San Francisco, throwing seven innings of one-run ball just five
days after his father passed away.

“It was good to get back and have everything and commemorate his
life,” he said. “But it was good to get back to baseball, too.”

Kershaw, though, would probably appreciate a bigger cushion to
work with. His 2.03 run-support average is among the lowest in
baseball.

Including a 3-0 road loss on April 12 when the southpaw struck
out nine in 7 1-3 innings, Los Angeles has been shut out in each of
Kershaw’s last three starts against Arizona.

The injury-plagued Dodgers need to end that trend after falling
six games below .500 for the first time since Aug. 30, 2011.

They’ll try to salvage the series finale as they face Wade Miley
(2-1, 3.06) for the first time this season.

The left-hander, who went 2-1 with a 2.89 ERA in four starts
against the Dodgers a year ago, is coming off two rocky starts.
Miley walked a career-high seven in a 3-2, 10-inning win over
Colorado on April 27 then yielded season highs of four runs and
nine hits in Friday’s 7-6 loss at San Diego.

“I felt all right, I just wasn’t executing pitches,” Miley told
the Diamondbacks’ official website. “I’ve got to watch some video
tomorrow and go from there.”

Matt Kemp, 3 for 6 with two homers off Miley, has hit safely in
a season-high seven straight, but his lack of power is a big
concern. He and teammate Nick Punto each have one homer after the
Dodgers’ utility-man hit a solo shot on Tuesday. Punto added an RBI
double to improve his batting average against Arizona this season
to .545 (6 for 11).

Adrian Gonzalez is a .474 hitter (9 for 19) off Diamondbacks
pitching in 2013.

Arizona’s Didi Gregorius, who had a career high-tying three hits
on Tuesday, will try to extend his hitting streak to 11. The
23-year-old shortstop has also committed just one error in 47 total
chances since getting called up last month.

“He’s really doing it all,” Goldschmidt said.