After taking two of three against their most hated rivals up in San Francisco, the Dodgers now finish up the last leg of their road trip with a very important series in Phoenix. An exhilarating ninth inning bases clearing double by A.J. Ellis off Sergio Romo gave the Dodgers the series win and their fourth consecutive series win. The Boys in Blue find themselves 4 1/2 games behind the Snakes and in second place, and with a series sweep they could pull within 1 1/2 games of the frontrunners. The D-backs are always formidable foes of the Dodgers, and Kirk Gibson‘s squad has been tough to beat. The last time the two teams met in Los Angeles, the Dodgers dropped two of three and the clubs engaged in a heated brawl. Arizona also swept the Dodgers at Dodger Stadium back in May, and the Dodgers lost two of three in April. The Dodgers have only won two games of nine against the D-backs, but this Dodger team is a lot different than the one the D-backs faced during the first two months of the season.
An important factor in the Dodgers chances at taking the series in Arizona will be the pitching. Ricky Nolasco will be making his Dodger debut on Tuesday night versus Ian Kennedy who was the instigator in the brawl last month. Hyun-jin Ryu will face No. 1 prospect Tyler Skaggs on Wednesday, but the most critical outing will likely be of Zack Greinke on Monday evening as he tries to bounce back after a disappointing start in Colorado. Greinke still picked up the win thanks to the invigorated Dodgers offense, but he allowed 5 earned runs on 6 hits with 4 strikeouts and an eye-popping seven walks over just 5 innings. This will be the first time Greinke has pitched against the slithery Snakes since he was targeted by Ian Kennedy in the brawl last month on June 11th. Greinke wasn’t involved in the decision of that game and allowed 2 runs on 2 hits with 5 strikeouts and 2 walks over 7 innings of work. Greinke is still looking for his first career win against Arizona, and the right-hander is 0-3 with a 6.82 ERA against the Zoners in his career.
The D-backs will be sending righty Randall Delgado to the mound on Monday. Formerly with the Braves, Delgado notched his first victory with Arizona in his last start against the Mets where he went 7 innings while allowing 2 runs on 7 hits with an impressive 9 strikeouts and no walks. Delgado has only pitched 5 innings against the Dodgers in his career, and he has a 5.40 ERA with 4 strikeouts in those 5 innings. Matt Kemp, who should be back in the lineup for the Dodgers after nursing AC joint irritation in his left shoulder, has a homerun and 3 RBIs in 2 at-bats against Delgado.
After the messy brawl which saw punches flying and managers and coaches fighting, the two teams
will likely try to keep things civil. Ian Kennedy has since served a 10-game suspension while Mattingly and Ronald Belisario served one-game suspensions. J.P. Howell and Skip Schumaker both were punished with two-game suspensions, but Skip is still awaiting word on his appeal.
Arizona has won five games in a row, and they are the only team in the division with a winning record. The Dodgers will of course have to deal with notorious Dodger killer Paul Goldschmidt who is hitting .320 against the Dodgers with 7 homeruns. The D-backs will have to contend with Hanley Ramirez who is currently riding a career-best 18-game hitting streak.
The series opener will be televised on Prime Ticket at 6:40 p.m. Be sure to check out all our coverage as we continue to document every game of the Dodgers 2013 season. Go Blue!