Dodgers-Diamondbacks Preview

With first place in the NL West still in sight, Arizona

Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson initially contemplated skipping

Josh Collmenter’s turn in the rotation after his poor performance

against the Los Angeles Dodgers last week.

Instead, Gibson will send out the rookie right-hander when the

Diamondbacks return from a successful road stretch by opening a

three-game series with Los Angeles on Friday night.

Arizona (61-50) has won eight of 11 and earned six of those

victories during a nine-game trip against division foes. Winning

four in a row during that trek gave the Diamondbacks a share of the

NL West lead Tuesday, but they dropped back into second with an 8-1

loss the following day to first-place San Francisco.

Collmenter’s performance against the Dodgers (50-60) wasn’t one

of the highlights of that trip. During a 9-5 loss last Friday, the

right-hander gave up five runs and seven hits over 3 2-3 innings,

the briefest outing in his 14 career starts.

Collmenter (6-6, 3.10 ERA) also allowed two hits over six

innings against Los Angeles in his first major league start May 14,

earning a 1-0 win. Another strong outing could make Gibson’s

decision to give the rest of his rotation some more rest a wise

one.

“We’ve asked a lot of (the starters), so we’re just kind of

looking out the rest of the month and the season,” Gibson told the

team’s official website. “It just can’t hurt.”

Dodgers right-hander Chad Billingsley (9-9, 4.15) will try to

rebound from his rough outing against Arizona on Saturday, when he

gave up six runs and five walks over 5 2-3 innings of a 6-4

defeat.

“It’s baseball,” he told his team’s official website. “I was

just trying to throw strikes and everything happened. What can you

do about it? You just got to come back out and do it again.”

Billingsley has alternated losses and wins in his last five

starts, posting a 6.63 ERA during the three defeats and a 0.60 ERA

in the other two games.

Billingsley has a 2.65 ERA over his last five matchups with the

Diamondbacks, but has one win to show for his efforts. He suffered

the loss in Collmenter’s first start despite allowing one unearned

run and one hit over eight innings.

Billingsley might have to pitch carefully to Justin Upton and

Ryan Roberts.

Upton had a 14-game hit streak snapped Wednesday and batted .436

with seven homers and 21 RBIs during the longest run by a

Diamondback this season. Roberts is hitting .500 with two homers

and five RBIs over his last six contests.

Upton is 6 for 33 in his career against Billingsley and Roberts

is 1 for 2.

The Dodgers’ Matt Kemp, batting .419 in his last 11 games, is 2

for 5 versus Collmenter and had five RBIs, including a three-run

homer, in last week’s victory. Juan Rivera hit a pair of doubles

for Los Angeles in that game.