The dog days of summer have hit the Los Angeles Dodgers, who still own a major league-best record of 92-44 but are mired in their worst slump of the season. The Dodgers have lost eight of their last nine contests as they begin a three-game series Monday against the visiting Arizona Diamondbacks, who have won 10 straight to solidify their position atop the National League wild-card standings.
The Dodgers dropped three of four in San Diego over the weekend, but Cody Bellinger provided the lone bright spot by breaking the team’s rookie record with his 36th home run in Sunday’s 6-4 loss. While Los Angeles starting pitchers have posted a 7.65 ERA over their last nine contests, manager Dave Roberts is confident that Rich Hill, Hyun-Jin Ryu and Kenta Maeda will have better results than last week, when the trio allowed 19 runs over 10 2/3 innings during the Diamondbacks’ three-game sweep at home. With his team possessing a 6 1/2-game lead over Colorado for the top NL wild-card spot, Arizona manager Torey Lovullo began giving his starters some much-needed rest over the weekend. Paul Goldschmidt, A.J. Pollock and J.D. Martinez were held out of the starting lineup in Sunday’s 5-1 win over Colorado, and left-handed hitters David Peralta and Jake Lamb could take a seat for Monday’s series opener.
TV: 8:10 p.m. ET, MLB Network, FSN Arizona, SportsNet LA (Los Angeles)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Diamondbacks LH Robbie Ray (11-5, 2.97 ERA) vs. Dodgers LH Rich Hill (9-6, 3.71)
Ray won his second straight start on Wednesday against the Dodgers, allowing one run while registering 10 strikeouts over 6 2/3 innings. The 25-year-old is having a career year with stellar numbers across the board, including a 6-1 record and 1.49 ERA in 11 road outings. Justin Turner is 4-for-21 against Ray, who has gone 2-0 with a 3.00 ERA in four starts versus Los Angeles this season and owns a 2.19 ERA in six career turns at Dodger Stadium.
In his first start since flirting with a no-hitter on Aug. 23, Hill allowed six runs and a season-high eight hits over 3 2/3 innings in Tuesday’s 7-6 loss to Arizona. The 37-year-old went 4-0 with a 1.45 ERA in five turns in July but had mixed results last month, going 1-2 with a 4.71 ERA. Hill has posted a 1-4 record and 5.02 ERA in eight career starts against Arizona, recording 40 strikeouts against 13 walks in 43 innings.
1. The Diamondbacks haven’t allowed a home run in 38 consecutive innings.
2. The Dodgers have won 31 of their last 37 home games.
3. Goldschmidt is a career .325 hitter with 14 home runs and 38 RBIs in 52 contests at Dodger Stadium.
PREDICTION: Diamondbacks 6, Dodgers 3