Diamondbacks-Dodgers Preview

It’s still early, but the injury-riddled Los Angeles Dodgers are

sitting at the bottom of the NL West as one of the biggest

disappointments in baseball.

Pitching may be the biggest culprit of late, but Josh Beckett

hasn’t been of much help all season.

Beckett looks to halt his worst start to a season and snap the

Dodgers’ latest slide as they face the Arizona Diamondbacks on

Tuesday night.

Despite having the highest payroll in baseball at nearly $221

million, Los Angeles (13-18) is a season-worst five games under

.500 after losing five straight – one shy of its season high April

14-20.

Injuries are partly to blame. The Dodgers’ disabled list

includes shortstop Hanley Ramirez, second baseman Mark Ellis and

starters Zack Greinke, Ted Lilly, Stephen Fife and Chad

Billingsley, who is out for the season following elbow surgery.

The injuries to the rotation may be taking a toll since the

starters have a 7.66 ERA over the last five games. Chris Capuano

turned in the latest dismal effort, surrendering six runs in four

innings of Monday’s 9-2 loss in the opener of this three-game

series with Arizona (17-15).

The Dodgers hope Beckett (0-4, 5.24 ERA) can end the current

losing streak, but he’s winless through his first six starts for

the first time in his 13-year career.

Beckett has been particularly bad over his past three outings,

posting a 7.80 ERA while allowing 20 hits and eight walks in 15

innings. He surrendered five runs in a season-low four innings of a

7-3 loss to Colorado on Wednesday.

“I’ve just got to get back to work, figure something out,” said

Beckett, among the Dodgers’ highest-paid players at $17 million

this year. “That’s what this business is all about. I can’t just go

out and keep pitching like (this).”

His best performance of the season came at Arizona on April 14,

but he allowed a walkoff RBI single to Paul Goldschmidt with one

out in the ninth inning to lose 1-0.

Goldschmidt had four hits Monday with a homer and three RBIs.

The first baseman is 8 for 16 in four meetings with the Dodgers

this season, and he’s batted .391 with three homers and nine RBIs

in 12 career games at Chavez Ravine.

Like Beckett, Brandon McCarthy (0-3, 7.22) is enduring his worst

start to a season through six outings. His ERA and .351 opponents’

batting average are among the worst in baseball.

The right-hander seemed headed for his first win in a

Diamondbacks uniform Wednesday, but the bullpen surrendered five

runs in the final two innings of Wednesday’s 9-6 loss to San

Francisco. McCarthy gave up four runs and eight hits – two homers –

before leaving after the sixth inning with a two-run lead.

“Overall, it was encouraging but there are little things I can

do to smooth out the rough edges,” McCarthy told the team’s

official website. “The stuff is there, it’s just making sure you

put together the whole game plan.”

McCarthy won his only career start against Los Angeles on June

19, yielding two hits in seven innings of a 3-0 win with

Oakland.

Dodgers slugger Adrian Gonzalez (sore neck) was in the starting

lineup Monday for the first time in four games and had two hits.

He’s 8 for 15 versus Arizona this season.