NL West-leading Diamondbacks roll into Dodger Stadium

LOS ANGELES — The Arizona Diamondbacks have come out ahead in all four series they have played on the young season, and recent history suggests more success lies ahead when they face the Los Angeles Dodgers this weekend.

The Diamondbacks will head into Dodger Stadium to open a three-game series on Friday as the owners of a 9-3 record, second best in the National League heading into Thursday’s games. And already this season, Arizona has a series victory over the Dodgers, sweeping their division rivals at home over three games last week.

In fact, dating to last season, the Diamondbacks have not only won nine consecutive regular-season games against the Dodgers, they have won four consecutive regular-season series.

“We’re confident, but there’s a lot of games to go,” Arizona’s Paul Goldschmidt said, according to the Arizona Republic, after connecting on four extra-base hits in the Diamondbacks’ just-completed series at San Francisco. “We’re just going to try to win as many games as we can and take it, really, day by day.”

Arizona has Zack Greinke (0-1, 5.06 ERA) lined up to start in the series opener, although the right-hander has yet to personally enjoy the spoils of the team’s hot start. Two of the Diamondbacks’ three defeats have come in Greinke outings.

Not only that, but Greinke has started at Dodger Stadium three times in an Arizona uniform and he has a 7.56 ERA in those games with a 1-2 record. He is 4-4 lifetime against Los Angeles with a 3.74 ERA in 11 starts.

The Dodgers might be off to a disappointing 4-7 start to the season, but they have reason for optimism in the upcoming series. Sure, they seem to have Greinke’s number, but they also know that when they heat was on in last year’s postseason, the Dodgers pulled off a sweep of Arizona in the NL Division Series.

The Dodgers will open the series against Arizona with right-hander Kenta Maeda (1-0, 0.00 ERA) on the mound. Maeda has just one start in the early going and it was impressive as he recorded 10 strikeouts over five innings in a March 31 victory over the San Francisco Giants.

Maeda’s only other appearance has been one inning of scoreless relief April 7 after his April 6 start at San Francisco was rained out. He is 3-3 lifetime against the Diamondbacks with a 4.72 ERA in 11 starts.

That rainout last Friday has given the Dodgers four days off in the first two weeks of the season and has created a schedule challenge when it comes to the starting rotation.

“It’s kind of an awkward situation for all the starters,” Los Angeles manager Dave Roberts said, according to the Southern California News Group. “We talked to all the starters and hopefully we’ll get these guys back on a normal schedule going forward. It’s not ideal. And I think in their own right, they all will adjust. … They all are very routine-driven, but they’ll be fine.”

While the Diamondbacks have their four series victories, the Dodgers have yet to win one, although slow starts have been common for them the past two seasons. At the start of May in each of the last two years, the Dodgers were hovering around the .500 mark.