Preview: D-backs vs. Dodgers, 6 p.m., FOX Sports Arizona
FOX Sports Arizona
Today's starting pitchers: RHP Zack Godley vs. LHP Rich Hill
Streaming live on FOX Sports GO
The Dodgers return for their final regular-season series -- three weeks after a contentious visit that saw the D-backs drop two of three.
Los Angeles (91-38) is running away with the NL West even while playing without ace pitcher Clayton Kershaw -- he's expected to return from a back injury on Friday -- and rookie slugger Cody Bellinger, who is on the DL with an ankle injury. The Dodgers did drop two of three to Milwaukee in Los Angeles last weekend, their first series defeat since June 5-7.
The D-backs (73-58) are 19 games back but second in the West, two games ahead of Colorado in the race for the first National League wild card and five games clear of the Brewers. They have won four in a row and swept three games from the Giants over the weekend, limiting them to four runs in three games.
Godley is winless in his last four starts -- a stretch in which he's gone 0-3 with a 4.37 ERA.
He's started twice against the Dodgers this year, going 0-1 with a 2.92 ERA. He was the starting pitcher in the D-backs' 6-3 win on Aug. 8 but left with no decision after giving up eight hits and three runs in 6 2/3 innings. Two of the three runs came on solo home runs by Justin Turner.
While Godley has enjoyed less success since the All-Star break, he still ranks among the top starting pitchers (100 innings minimum) in the majors in multiple areas -- including ground-ball percentage (9th at 55.6), batting average against (10th at .212), home runs per nine innings (11th at 0.77), ERA (17th at 3.15) and strikeouts per nine innings (23rd at 9.54). Opposing hitters are batting .170 against Godley in games played at Chase Field.
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Dodgers starting pitcher Rich Hill (9-5, 3.32 ERA)
Hill is coming off the cruelest loss imaginable.
He had a perfect game through eight innings last Wednesday against the Pirates, only to lose it in the ninth when infielder Logan Forsythe made an error. The Dodgers' offense, meanwhile, had been held scoreless by the Pirates, so Hill went out to pitch the 10th inning, still working on a no-hitter. Josh Harrison led off the 10th with a home run, and Hill went from nearly pitching a perfect game to becoming the losing pitcher in a 1-0 game.
Hill has given up three runs or fewer in his last 11 starts -- going 6-2 with a 2.38 ERA while giving 45 hits and striking out 87 over 68 innings of work.
This will be Hill's third start of the season vs. the D-backs, but his first at Chase Field. He is 0-1 with a 2.70 ERA in the first two. He was nearly flawless against them in a no-decision on July 6, striking out nine over seven innings and allowing two hits, no walks and one run -- on a Jake Lamb home run.
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The series begins a critical division stretch for the Diamondbacks, who have six games against the Dodgers and seven against Colorado between now and Sept. 14. The winner of the wild-card game is almost certain to meet the Dodgers in the NL Division Series.
"We just want to play good baseball against every team, especially the good teams," Arizona manager Torey Lovullo said when asked if the Dodgers series carried extra importance. "We want to continue to show the rest of the league that something special is happening here in Arizona.
"The Dodgers are a special team. They are having an incredible year. They are projected to win over 110 games. That's an amazing year. We know who they are, and we want to make sure that we are ready for that challenge when they walk in here."
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Defending the 'house'
It was during the first of the three games against the Dodgers earlier this month -- a 6-3 Arizona victory -- that Archie Bradley's emotions overflowed as he walked off the mound after the top of the eighth, gesturing with his arms and shouting, "This is our house. Let's go."
Bradley said he meant no disrespect but only wanted to fire up the D-backs fans at Chase Field, which has been infiltrated by a large and vocal contingent of Dodgers fans.
"You look up and you see the blue (of Dodgers fans) in the stands. This is our house. I don't care how many games back we are. I don't care if we are the worst team in baseball. I want to win at home, and I want to see Diamondbacks in the stands.
"I don't like seeing blue in the stands. I'm a competitor, and it's the emotions coming out of me. ... It was about a moment, and I just felt it and kind of let it out."
Cody Bellinger, the rookie from nearby Chandler who has 34 home runs, is expected to be activated for Wednesday's game. With him sidelined, L.A. has scored just 11 runs in their last five games and been shut out twice.
Shortstop Corey Seager has a 15-game hitting streak (23 for 66), but he's gone 18 games without a home run. Longtime D-backs nemesis Justin Turner is 2 for his last 19, dropping his season average to .329 -- which is still second best in the NL.
"You look at our club offensively, that's where we're a little cold right now," Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. "You look at the guys in the lineup who aren't swinging the bats the way they are capable or have been this year, it's all kind of happening at once. We'll get through it."
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Heart of the order
J.D. Martinez continues to provide the extra punch in the lineup that the D-backs sought when trading for him midway through July. He homered twice on Sunday and once on Saturday and now has 13 home runs and 29 RBI in 34 games with the D-backs, despite just a .231 average. (He has only 10 singles to go with 18 extra-base hits as a D-back.)
Paul Goldschmidt homered twice in the Giants series and is up to 31 home runs and 104 RBI for the season. He's third in the majors in RBI, fourth in runs (96) and second in on-base percentage (.427).
Jake Lamb is in the midst of a 3-for-25 slump, but perhaps playing the Dodgers will be remedy. He has six home runs and 13 RBI in 12 appearances vs. L.A.