NL West: Dodgers and D-backs heading in different directions
LOS ANGELES — The Arizona Diamondbacks are on an epic hot streak, and they will try to match a club record on Tuesday at Dodger Stadium when they go for their 12th consecutive victory.
The Diamondbacks, who won 12 straight games in 2003, were dominant in capturing their 11th consecutive game Monday, a 13-0 rout of the Los Angeles Dodgers.
J.D. Martinez tied a major league record with four home runs, and Robbie Ray had a career-best 14 strikeouts to stifle the Dodgers.
The Diamondbacks (80-58) have won four consecutive meetings with the National West-leading Dodgers (92-45). Arizona leads the NL wild-card standings by 6 1/2 games.
“We’re just going out every night and playing the team we’re playing, Dodgers or whoever it is,” Ray said. “It doesn’t matter what they’re wearing on their chest, we’re going to do what we’re doing and we’re going to take care of business.”
Ray (12-5) pitched 7 2/3 scoreless innings Monday while becoming the first Diamondbacks pitcher to record 14 strikeouts in a game since Randy Johnson struck out 15 on Aug. 31, 2004, against the Dodgers.
Former Dodger Zack Greinke (16-6, 3.08 ERA) will start Tuesday for the Diamondbacks. Greinke is 4-4 with a 4.03 ERA against the Dodgers in 10 career starts.
The Dodgers, riding a four-game losing streak and a 1-9 skid, will try to get back on track Tuesday behind Hyun-Jin Ryu. The left-hander struggled Wednesday at Arizona, allowing a season-high six runs in four innings. Ryu is 3-3 with a 4.02 ERA in nine career starts against the Diamondbacks.
Los Angeles got a good performance out of its starting pitcher, Rich Hill, on Monday, but pitching previously was the trouble spot in the recent rough patch. The bullpen imploded Monday as the offense went cold.
“We’ve just got to keep playing,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “We’re doing the same thing we’ve been doing all year, but the results are different. We got very good pitching from Rich. Their guy pitched even better. We didn’t win the ballgame.
“(Tuesday) we’re going to do the same thing and come in to win a baseball game. That’s all we can do. As far as a panic button, I don’t see that happening.”
The Dodgers still have the best record in baseball, but a team that was seemingly invincible in July and August is proving to be beatable.
The Diamondbacks, meanwhile, have a swagger about them, no one more so than Martinez. The right fielder became the 18th player in history to bash four homers in a game, going deep off four different Los Angeles pitchers.
“Positive,” Martinez said to describe the mindset in the clubhouse. “I think everyone is on a positive vibe right now. Everyone feels good. Everyone is excited to come to the ballpark.
“I think Archie (Bradley) said it best today, he comes in and said he walks by the training room and guys are getting exercise and getting work in and you walk by the weight room and it’s packed. Everyone’s getting work in. You come in the clubhouse and no one is in here. It shows the vibe and what everyone is thinking about right now. Everyone wants to do well, and everyone wants to run away with this thing.”