The Arizona Diamondbacks have a legitimate chance of winning
their first NL West crown since 2007. If they’re going to make a
run for the title, it’s important they take care of the teams below
them in the standings.
Arizona tries to avoid its first three-game losing streak since
mid-June on Saturday night when the Los Angeles Dodgers are
expected to call up right-hander Nate Eovaldi from Double-A
Chattanooga for his major league debut.
Tied with San Francisco atop the West following Tuesday’s 6-1
victory over the Giants, the Diamondbacks lost Wednesday’s series
finale 8-1. Following an off day, Arizona (61-51) fell 7-4 to the
fourth-place Dodgers (51-60) on Friday to open a 10-game
“You want to take advantage of every opportunity,” starter Josh
Collmenter said. “We could have got a win tonight, regardless of
what happens with the Giants (lost 9-2 to Philadelphia) we don’t
lose any ground.”
Still, Arizona could help itself by defeating West rivals Los
Angeles, Colorado and San Diego. The Diamondbacks play 24 of their
final 50 games against those clubs – they’re all under .500 – after
the Dodgers defeated them for the fourth time in 10 matchups in
Arizona tries to avoid its first 0-3 stretch since June 9-15 as
Joe Saunders (8-8, 3.56 ERA) looks to win a third straight outing.
The veteran left-hander was 4-1 with a 2.16 ERA in six July
“It was a good month. It kind of makes up for the start I had
(0-5 with a 5.48 ERA through eight starts),” Saunders said after
allowing two runs in 7 2-3 innings of Sunday’s 6-3 victory at
Dodger Stadium. “I tried to get back to even-par the best I could,
and now we can go on from here.”
Saunders, though, is 2-4 with a 4.62 ERA in 10 starts at Chase
Field in 2011.
The Dodgers, who had dropped four of five in Phoenix before
Friday, have won four of five away from Chavez Ravine. They’ll push
back ace Clayton Kershaw until Sunday’s series finale and give the
ball to Eovaldi.
The 21-year-old right-hander, an 11th-round pick in 2008, will
take the place of rookie Rubby De La Rosa, who is expected to
undergo Tommy John surgery next week.
Eovaldi had that procedure during his junior year in high
school, but according to Dodgers rookie reliever Josh Lindblom, who
was called up from Chattanooga last Friday, the young Texan has a
major league fastball and an effective slider and splitter.
“He’s super competitive and kind of a physical freak. A big,
strong kid,” Lindblom told the Dodgers’ official website. “In one
game there, (Cincinnati’s) Aroldis Chapman finished one inning
throwing a 100 mph fastball and Eovaldi started the next inning
hitting 100, too.”
Eovaldi went 6-5 with a 2.62 ERA at Chattanooga.
Dodgers right fielder Andre Ethier snapped an 0-for-18 skid in
Phoenix on Friday with a first-inning single. He is 9 for 20 with a
homer lifetime against Saunders and singled four times off the
It was the first time a left-handed hitter had four hits against
Saunders in one game since Ethier had four singles in a 3-2 win
over Arizona on Oct. 2.
Diamondbacks right fielder Justin Upton, batting .397 with seven
homers and 21 RBIs in his last 16 games, was hitless in 27 straight
home at-bats against the Dodgers before Friday’s sixth-inning