Back when these teams last came together for the start of a series on July 4 in Los Angeles, the Dodgers held a 2 ½ game lead in the NL West. Three consecutive one-run victories by L.A. -- including a crushing 5-4 loss in the final game in which the Dodgers put up four runs in the bottom of the ninth off of Fernando Rodney -- pretty much set the course for the next month.
As they meet again at Chase Field, the Dodgers (79-32) are 15 ½ games in front of the Rockies in the NL West, thanks to a 44-7 run that stretches back to June 7 and includes a three-game weekend sweep of the New York Mets. They are 24-3 since July 4, with all three losses coming against the Atlanta Braves
The D-backs (63-48) are 16 games back in third place, still in the driver's seat for a wild-card berth, but any thoughts of contending for a division title are long gone. They have gone 11-17 since July 4 and are coming off a 5-5 road trip that ended with a pair of disappointing losses to last-place San Francisco.
This is the start of an eight-game home stand for the D-backs -- all against first-place teams: Three each against the Dodgers and Chicago Cubs, and two against the Houston Astros.
Godley has not given up a run in his last two starts, a stretch of 13 scoreless innings against the Cubs and Cardinals. He gave up seven hits, walked four and struck out 12 in the two victories, both on the road.
He is 0-1 with a 2.16 ERA in six career appearances in the Dodgers the last two seasons, including two starts. He suffered a 1-0 loss in his only start against them this season on July 5, when he gave up three hits and one run in 5 2/3 innings while striking out six.
In six starts at Chase Field this year, he's given up just 18 hits and two home runs, but he's won just twice, thanks to some shaky run support. Godley ranks seventh among all starting pitchers for lowest home run rate -- averaging 0.57 homers per nine innings. He's second to only Max Scherzer in batting average against, with a mark of .193.
Maeda gave up two hits in seven scoreless innings against Atlanta last Tuesday and has won four consecutive starts, limiting opponents to three earned runs and 16 hits over 22 innings (1.23 ERA). He is 6-1 with a 2.15 ERA in his last seven starts.
Maeda is 3-2 with a 4.46 ERA in eight starts against Arizona, and he gave up a career-high six runs and nine hits in an 11-5 loss on April 22 at Chase Field, capping a stretch in which he gave up 17 runs in 19 innings. He has allowed more than three runs once in 15 starts since.
Jake Lamb has a pair of home runs and is 9 for 20 in his career against Maeda.
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Timing is everything
Lack of timely hitting has been a constant theme for the D-backs when they've struggled, and this past road trip was no exception. They were 5 for 30 with runners in scoring position against the Giants and 15 for 84 (.179) over the 10-game trip.
"It's hard to pinpoint one thing when you are trying to figure out why teams don't hit with runners in scoring position," manager Torey Lovullo said. "I'm certain we are not the only team having these types of discussions. It's magnified when you build an inning and you don't score runs.
"These guys have a really good track record of getting the job done. I just think they got pitched to, maybe came out of their game plan at times. We have to learn from it and move on."
Paul Goldschmidt has been a continued bright spot. Over the past two weeks, he's 20 for 45 (.444) with 10 walks, four home runs, 16 RBI and a .444 on-base percentage. J.D. Martinez has supplied six home runs in 15 games since being acquired, but he's yet to completely heat up at the plate, with just a .226 average as a D-back. Jake Lamb is hitting just .191 since the All-Star break, but he has walked 18 times and driven in 18 runs.
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As might be expected, the Dodgers have a lineup full of hot hitters, but it's the surprising Chris Taylor who is leading the way.
Taylor, who hit .240 without a home run in parts of three seasons with Seattle, is up to 15 home runs and a .312 average this season for the Dodgers. In 21 games since the All-Star break, he's hitting .391 with five home runs, 17 extra-base hits, 19 runs scored and 16 RBI. And he's been an especially sharp thorn in the side of the D-backs, going 10 for 17 (.588) with a home run and three doubles against them.
Justin Turner continues to lead the NL with a .349 batting average; and rookie Cody Bellinger from nearby Chandler is up to 32 home runs -- trailing only Giancarlo Stanton (37) in the National League.