After being defeated handedly by the Mets in the series finale on Sunday, the Dodgers had Monday to regroup before beginning a new road trip starting off in Phoenix. With only 30 games left on their regular season schedule, the Dodgers still need to preserve their 4 game lead in the N.L. West in order to defend their divisional crown. With some hiccups down the stretch with injuries to some key players, the Dodgers have used Kevin Correia and Roberto Hernandez as Band-Aids on their battered rotation. With Correia struggling on Sunday after allowing 7 runs (5 earned) in just 3 innings, Don Mattingly will most likely push Correia to the bullpen once Hyun-jin Ryu is activated from the disabled list.
Roberto Hernandez (7-9, 3.78) vs. Trevor Cahill (3-8, 4.54)
Roberto Hernandez still is slated as the Dodgers’ fifth guy here at the end with Josh Beckett‘s return highly unlikely. After
making two good starts as a Dodger, Hernandez struggled last time out against the Padres. The right-hander allowed 4 runs (3 earned) on 8 hits in 5 innings for the loss. Hernandez faced the D-backs twice prior this season when he was still with the Phillies. He is 1-1 with a 4.15 ERA against the D-backs this year. In his career, Hernandez is 2-1 with a 3.27 ERA against the D-backs in 3 starts. This will be his second career start at Chase Field. Aaron Hill and Cliff Pennington both have 8 hits each off Hernandez and are hitting over .300 against him.
Trevor Cahill has really had trouble at home this season. He is 1-5 with a 5.52 ERA at Chase Field this year. He is 0-2 against the Dodgers this season in combined starting and relief appearances. His 8.25 ERA against the Boys in Blue this year hasn’t been pretty, and Cahill has allowed 12 runs in 13 innings against the Dodgers. Cahill has fared a lot better over the course of his career against the Dodgers. He is 6-2 with a 3.01 ERA against L.A. in 14 games (12 starts). This just highlights the troubles Cahill has had this season with Arizona especially against the Dodgers. Cahill has pitched better of late after being demoted to the minors for six weeks. Adrian Gonzalez has absolutely owned Cahill, and the first baseman is hitting .458 against him with 11 hits including 3 doubles and 2 homeruns in 28 plate appearances.
Black & Blue (injury updates):
-After being reinstated from the disabled list on Sunday, Hanley Ramirez started at shortstop and went 0-for-4 with 2 strikeouts.
-Zack Greinke “feels good” after pitching on Saturday after he was pushed back due to elbow soreness.
-Hyun-jin Ryu is scheduled to throw a bullpen session on Tuesday. (right hip strain)
The Dodgers gained a 1/2 game on the Giants, and they now reside at the top of the National League West 5 games up. The Dodgers are vying for their 75th win on the season, but the scorching hot Washington Nationals have already captured their 75th victory with the best record in the league. The Giants are taking on Colorado whom they lost to 3-2 on Monday.
Fourth-place Arizona has been a franchise in turmoil and controversy of late. Kirk Gibson has transformed from World Series M.V.P. hero to renegade headhunter manager. Gibson is still living in the baseball machismo of his prime time. Perhaps times have changed in not only baseball but society as a whole, and those Wild West antics are not really acceptable anymore. Without going into a heated debate about deliberately hitting an opposing player, I can say that I feel that there is definitely a right way and wrong way to do it if warranted. Clayton Kershaw hit Matt Holliday in the butt, but Kirk Gibson has had his pitching staff go for the heads of players and just recently beaned M.V.P. Andrew McCutchen square on the back this season.
Prediction: Adrian Gonzalez collects another two RBIs.
The Dodgers will try to play out their rivalries on the field. There’s no time to get wrapped up in Arizona’s often ruthless behavior and risk one of our star players getting hurt. While I hope that there are many bubble dances in the dugout this series, I hope the Dodgers keep their swimming until after the division is clinched. There’s still work to be done before we can celebrate with champagne bubbles.