The quick road trip was very ugly, and the Dodgers, with 31 games left in the season, understand that to make the playoffs, they have to start playing playoff-type baseball today, beginning against the Diamondbacks.
With a deficit of 3 1/2 games out West, and 1 1/2 in the Wildcard, the Dodgers are in for quite the challenge. The upcoming month has match-ups primarily against the competition of the NL West, but also includes encounters with the Nationals, Reds, and Cardinals, all teams that figure to be playoff contenders.
Seven games at home, beginning with a struggling Diamondbacks team is perfect for a team looking to secure some momentum, which could go a long way towards a playoff push.
It’s recommended that the Dodgers play with a short-term memory though, as they have dropped six games in a row against the Diamondbacks, including getting swept at home.
Here is more about Arizona.
As the Diamondbacks begin to free-fall, so does catcher Miguel Montero, whose .240 average is a steep tumble from his .300 clip from a month ago. Still, it doesn’t mean he isn’t producing, as he has driven in 13 RBIs on the month.
First baseman Paul Goldschmidt has licked his chops at the sight of the Dodgers, hitting .400 with 3 HRs and 10 RBIs against Los Angeles. However, he is mired in a slump that has him hitting .136 (3-for-22) over his last eight games.
Aaron Hill is right back to smacking home runs with ease, adding seven to his yearly total of 20. His 14 RBIs could be more, but the D’Backs are failing miserably to get on base.
Jake Elmore is a difficult out, but almost assuredly will not hurt any teams by taking them deep. In his brief Major League career he has collected hits in four games, multiple in three, but hitless in 10.
Chris Johnson was acquired from the Houston Astros to replace Ryan Roberts, and hopefully bolster the offense. It worked for the first eight games, but he has disappeared since, hitting just .192 for the month. He has not homered since doing so twice on Aug. 7.
No D’Back has disappeared as much as Jason Kubel, who just cannot buy a clue at the moment, hitting .155 for the month. Half of Kubel’s home runs and RBIs in August came in an Aug. 9 victory in Pittsburgh, where he hit two homers and drove in four runs.
The bus may be missed for Chris Young, who is beginning to show that the potential may never be realized. Sure he can hit for power, and steal some bases, but never for average. His .237 average in August is the best of any full month he has played in.
All alone atop the list of Diamondbacks on the rise is Justin Upton, who could threaten to become a factor in this upcoming series. He has homered twice in the last five games, and could not choose a better time to erupt than now.
|RHP Ian Kennedy||Thursday||4.44||4.32||1.35||3.43||9.8||1.4||2.3||8.0|
|RHP Trevor Cahill||Friday||3.99||4.10||1.36||1.95||8.8||0.8||3.5||6.8|
|LHP Tyler Skaggs||Saturday||2.92||5.98||1.21||1.29||5.8||1.5||5.1||6.6|
|LHP Wade Miley||Sunday||2.85||3.03||1.10||4.07||8.3||0.6||1.6||6.5|
|RHP J.J. Putz||Closer||2.89||2.71||0.96||6.13||7.0||0.8||1.6||10.1|
The going continues to get tougher for Ian Kennedy, who holds a 5.60 ERA in August. Who would have guessed this after a Cy Young-like campaign just a year ago? He has lost three of his last four starts.
Arizona has dropped four of the last five games in which Trevor Cahill has started. His monthly ERA of 5.14 isn’t exactly helping. He has allowed four runs in three of his last five starts.
Top prospect Tyler Skaggs is set to get acquainted with the Dodgers on Saturday, after taking his first ever defeat against the Reds at home on Monday. The talented lefty has had control issues, walking his share of batters, which is more than enough to build confidence for the Dodgers.
Rookie All-Star Wade Miley will get another look at the Dodgers, his fourth as a matter of fact. He is 2-0 against the Dodgers in Phoenix, but 0-1 at Dodger Stadium. Despite a 2.30 ERA in August, Miley is 2-3.
Closer J.J. Putz is without a doubt one of baseball’s hottest closers, having converted 17 consecutive saves, and not allowing a run since June 19. Since that date he has only allowed 11 hits in 21-2/3 innings, making him a pitcher to avoid.
|Game-time||Dodgers Starter||Diamondbacks Starter||TV||Promotion|
|Thursday||7:10 p.m.||Clayton Kershaw (12-7)||Ian Kennedy (11-11)||Prime Ticket||Vin Scully Bobblehead presented by Farmer John|
|Friday||7:10 p.m.||Aaron Harang (9-8)||Trevor Cahill (9-11)||Prime Ticket||-|
|Saturday||6:10 p.m.||Josh Beckett (5-12)||Tyler Skaggs (1-1)||Prime Ticket/MLB Network||Natural Balance Bark in the Park|
|Sunday||1:10 p.m.||Chris Capuano (11-10)||Wade Miley (14-9)||TBD||Kids Run the Bases/Viva Los Dodgers|
- The Dodgers lead the overall series against the Diamondbacks by a margin of 135-117. This includes a 4-8 record against Arizona this season, and 1-4 at Dodger Stadium.
- Adrian Gonzalez has hit 20 home runs against the Diamondbacks — the most he has hit against any team. He carries a .288 batting average against them.
- Saturday’s starter Tyler Skaggs entered the 2012 season rated as the 13th-best prospect in baseball. Through Double-A and Triple-A Skaggs never posted an ERA over 3.00.
Dodgers’ Last 10 (4-6): W @ COL, L @ COL, L @ COL, L vs MIA, W vs MIA, W vs MIA, L vs SF, L vs SF, L vs SF, W @ ATL.
Diamondbacks’ Last 10 (2-8): L vs CIN, L vs CIN, L vs CIN, L vs SD, L vs SD, L vs SD, W vs MIA, W vs MIA, L vs MIA, L vs MIA.
The Rest of the West:
- Giants @ Cubs
- Padres @ Rockies
Dodgers win three