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.