A series that once loomed as a potential showdown for supremacy atop the National League West has lost much of its luster since the Los Angeles Dodgers’ near-unstoppable run to the best record in the majors. Still, the Arizona Diamondbacks have plenty to play for as they get set to host the division-rival Dodgers on Tuesday in the opener of a three-game set.
The Diamondbacks trail first-place Los Angeles by a staggering 19 games in the division but they are holding down the top wild card and enter the series having won four in a row and six of seven. “I don’t think any team’s goal is to play meaningful baseball in September. That’s not a good goal, to just be in it,” said Arizona first baseman Paul Goldschmidt said. “You want to play in the playoffs because anything can happen and you have a chance to win the World Series.” While Arizona has lost five of its last six matchups to the Dodgers, it may be catching them at an opportune time — Los Angeles dropped two of three to Milwaukee over the weekend, its first series loss since the first week of June. Ace Clayton Kershaw is poised to return from injury at the end of the week for the Dodgers, who are attempting to avoid their first three-game skid since June 4-6.
TV: 9:40 p.m. ET, KTLA, SportsNet LA (Los Angeles), FSN Arizona
PITCHING MATCHUP: Dodgers LH Rich Hill (9-5, 3.32 ERA) vs. Diamondbacks RH Zack Godley (5-7, 3.15)
Hill absorbed one of the most hard-luck losses in baseball history - and it’s not just hyperbole. After going 5-0 over his previous eight starts, he took a perfect game into the ninth inning and a no-hitter into the 10th at Pittsburgh, only to lose it — and the game — on a walk-off homer. Hill is 1-3 lifetime versus the Diamondbacks, but pitched seven innings of one-run ball against them on July 6.
Godley lost his third straight start by giving up three runs over five innings at the New York Mets, which followed a 10-strikeout performance in a loss at Minnesota. The 26-year-old has a pair of solid starts against the Dodgers this season, giving up one run on 5 2/3 innings on July 5 and tossing 6 2/3 innings of three-run ball on Aug. 8. Corey Seager is 1-for-11 and Justin Turner 3-for-12 versus Godley.
1. Arizona has a streak of seven straight games in which its starters have yielded two earned runs or less.
2. Cody Bellinger is expected to come off the disabled list Wednesday and take over the starting job from 1B Adrian Gonzalez (back).
3. Goldschmidt, who has reached 30 homers and 100 RBIs for the third time in five seasons, is batting .335 at home this year.
PREDICTION: Diamondbacks 4, Dodgers 3