D-backs visit cooled-off Dodgers for three-game set
SEP 09, 2013 10:08a ET
The D-backs' best option in their climb to get into the playoffs was to have the NL West-leading Dodgers sweep the Reds over the weekend. Instead, it was just the opposite. The Reds won all three games at Great American Ball Park, all by one run and the last in a walk-off, the Diamondbacks' specialty.
So the D-backs (72-70) enter a three-game series against the Dodgers trailing both Cincinnati and Pittsburgh by nine games in the NL wild-card race; the Reds pulled into a tie with the Pirates on Sunday. The Nationals are also in the mix at eight games back.
NL MVP candidate Paul Goldschmidt, who leads the league with 107 RBIs and is second with 31 home runs, is on a nice run. He is 5 for 15 in the last four games, and he has reached base in 22 of his last 24 games.
The schedule provides a glimmer of hope, as the Reds and Pirates play six games against each other in the final 10 days of the season. Pittsburgh also start a three-game series against AL West contender Texas today. The Rangers are tied with the Rays, both two games ahead of the pack in the AL wild-card race.
While the Pirates have their first winning season in 20 years, most of their players have not experienced tight September races in recent seasons.
Pitching matchups: Monday -- RHP Randall Delgado (4-5, 3.69 ERA) vs. RHP Ricky Nolasco (12-9, 3.26). Tuesday -- RHP Trevor Cahill (6-10, 4.35) vs. RHP Edinson Volquez (9-11, 6.05). Wednesday: LHP Patrick Corbin (13-6, 2.97) vs. LHP Hyun-Jin Ryu (13-5, 3.02).
Who's hot for the Diamondbacks: Martin Prado is hitting .350 in his last 33 games. He has a career-high 73 RBIs. ... Willie Bloomquist is 15 for 29 with five multiple-hit games since returning from the disabled list 10 days ago. ... Miguel Montero has hit safely in seven of 10 games since returning from the disabled list in late August. ... Goldschmidt is 5 for 15 in his last four games and has reached safely in 22 of his last 24 games. ... Trevor Cahill is 3-1 with a 2.42 ERA in his last four appearances, including his relief work in Philadelphia in the 18-inning win.
Who's not hot for the Diamondbacks: Patrick Corbin has given up 13 earned runs in his last 10 1/3 innings. ... Joe Thatcher has given up four hits and been charged with four earned runs in his last five appearances.
Who's hot for the Dodgers: Hanley Ramirez is 7 for 18 with two homers and five RBIs in his last four games. Yasiel Puig has gotten more pub, but Ramirez is just as responsible for the Dodgers' remarkable run. ... Carl Crawford has 12 hits in his last 32 at-bats. ... Closer Kenley Jansen has 16 saves and a 1.21 ERA since the All-Star break, with 35 strikeouts in 21 1/3 innings.
Who's not hot for the Dodgers: Andre Ethier was 0 for 11 in Cincinnati and is on an 0-for-12 skid overall. ... Puig has five hits in his last 23 at-bats, although two are homers. ... Adrian Gonzalez has six hits in his last 27 at-bats, although he continues to lead the Dodgers in virtually every production category . ... Mark Ellis has no hits in his last 11 at-bats.
Notes, quotes, odds and ends: The D-backs will avoid the Dodgers' top two starters, left-hander Clayton Kershaw and right-hander Zack Greinke, a small blessing. Kershaw is the odds-on favorite to win the NL Cy Young award for the second time in three seasons, and he is pitching well enough to be a unanimous winner. Greinke also could finish in the top five. ... Prado missed the final two games in San Francisco with flu-like conditions, but the D-backs are hoping he will be available for the three games in Los Angeles. ... Both of Kirk Gibson's ejections in San Francisco were after arguments with Tom Hallion. Gibson has been ejected four times, once by rule, when he was tossed after Ian Kennedy hit Greinke the last time the teams were here after both benches had been warmed. ... The Dodgers are the only team in baseball to have three starters with at least 13 victories, with Ryu joining Kershaw and Greinke. ... Bloomquist played left field for the first time this season Sunday, a way to keep his bat in the lineup while getting another look at rookie shortstop Chris Owings, who started the final three games of the Giants series. Owings had two-hit games Saturday and Sunday. ... Michael Young has hit the ground running since the Dodgers acquired him on Aug. 31, the last day on which he could have changed teams and been eligible for the postseason roster. Young is 6 for 17 with two RBIs in five games with the Dodgers while playing two games at first base, two at third and one as a pinch hitter. ... Gonzalez is 7 for 15 with two doubles and a homer off Cahill, with five hits in his last six plate appearances. ... Corbin has given up just one hit to Ethier in 11 at-bats while striking him out five times. ... Didi Gregorius is 6 for 9 against Nolasco, and Aaron Hill is 5 for 9. … Goldschmidt is 5 for 11 with a homer off the erratic Volquez, whom the Dodgers signed as a free agent Aug. 28 after he was released by the Padres because he could not throw strikes, even in Petco Park.