The Los Angeles Dodgers are off to a solid start thanks in part to their continued dominance of the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Dan Haren can continue his early success by becoming the latest Dodger starter to get the best of the Diamondbacks on Sunday when the visitors try to sweep the three-game set with a sixth consecutive victory in the series.
Adrian Gonzalez went 2 for 4 with a two-run homer and Zack Greinke allowed a run over 5 1-3 innings to improve to 3-0 as Los Angeles (8-4) won 8-5 on Saturday. The Dodgers have won 11 of 14 against the Diamondbacks (4-10), including seven of nine at Chase Field.
"There’s nothing like good vibes," Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. "There is something to that. You walk in feeling good because you have good memories (against a certain team or in a certain park)."
Gonzalez, who has homered in three straight games, is 5 for 8 with seven RBIs in the series and batting .500 (19 for 38) with five home runs and 17 RBIs in his last 11 in Arizona.
Los Angeles starting pitchers, meanwhile, have allowed two runs and struck out 28 with three walks over 24 innings in four meetings with the Diamondbacks this season.
"We don’t like losing," Arizona manager Kirk Gibson said. "They are trying to do well and reverse this cycle, this trend. When it continues to happen it is frustrating."
Haren (1-0, 0.75 ERA) has yielded two runs – one earned – and seven hits while striking out 10 with one walk over two starts this season in which he’s lasted six innings each time. The right-hander gave up a solo homer and two other hits during a 3-2, 10-inning win over Detroit on Tuesday.
"He’s been sharp, what we’ve expected," Mattingly said told the Dodgers’ official website.
Haren, who spent two-plus seasons in Arizona from 2008-10, is 1-1 with a 3.38 ERA as a starter against his former team. He gave up four hits in seven innings of a 2-0 victory at Chase Field for Washington on Sept. 28.
Meanwhile, scheduled Arizona starter Trevor Cahill (0-3, 7.90) was 6-0 with a 2.01 ERA in 10 starts against the Dodgers before he allowed five runs, eight hits and walked four in four innings of a 7-5 loss in Australia on March 23.
Things have not gone much better since for the right-hander, who allowed two runs in six innings of a 2-0 defeat to San Francisco on April 2, then yielded five over 3 2-3 frames of a 7-3 road loss to the Giants on Tuesday.
”It’s tough. It seemed like things were beginning to turn around and it gets away,” said Cahill, who dropped four straight starts during his 2009 rookie season with Oakland. "It’s frustrating."
The Diamondbacks organization remains supportive of Cahill for the time being.
"The stuff is still there where I think this guy can be a very successful big league pitcher," general manager Kevin Towers told the Diamondbacks’ official website. "He just needs to be able to string together a couple of good starts to get his confidence back."
Gonzalez is 9 for 20 (.450) with a home run and two doubles against Cahill.
Arizona’s Paul Goldschmidt is 1 for 9 with four strikeouts in the series, and 4 for 20 while fanning seven times in the last five games after batting .400 (14 for 35) in the first nine.