The Arizona Diamondbacks have been a pleasant surprise early this season, but they’re receiving a rude reminder about the National League West hierarchy this weekend.
After losing the first two contests of a four-game series against the Los Angeles Dodgers by a combined 20-5 score, the D-backs will aim for a better outcome on Saturday in Phoenix.
The Dodgers have won six straight games against Arizona this season and are 23-5 vs. the D-backs over the past two seasons.
Mookie Betts, Edwin Rios and Trea Turner homered in the Dodgers’ 6-4 win Friday. Betts is batting .347 (34-for-98) with 10 home runs this month for Los Angeles, which has won 11 of its past 13 games.
Turner is batting .365 (27-for-74) with three homers and 17 RBIs during his 19-game hitting streak.
Arizona will turn to starting pitcher Merrill Kelly (3-2, 3.49 ERA) on Saturday. The right-hander is looking for his first career victory against the Dodgers after going 0-6 with a 5.89 ERA in his previous nine appearances, all starts.
Kelly last faced Los Angeles on May 17, when he allowed eight runs on five hits over two innings in a 12-3 Arizona loss.
“Some of the pitches they hit were pretty decent, and they put pretty good swings on them,” Kelly said. “It could have been something I was doing. It could just be the fact that they’re a really good team.”
Kelly, 33, followed the outing with five innings against the Chicago Cubs last Sunday. He received a no-decision after allowing three runs on five hits, with three walks.
Will Smith is 7-for-14 with a home run against Kelly, who has a 2.17 ERA in five home starts this season compared with a 5.40 mark in four outings away from Chase Field.
The Dodgers will counter on Saturday with right-hander Tony Gonsolin (4-0, 1.62), who continued to be impressive with another strong outing on Sunday. He yielded one run and three hits over six innings in a no-decision against the Philadelphia Phillies.
“Tony was really good; his entire pitch mix was good,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “We needed some length, and he gave it to us.”
After failing to pitch deep into games early this season, Gonsolin has completed six innings in consecutive outings for the first time in his career.
The 28-year-old has allowed two earned runs or less in eight consecutive starts to open the season. He owns a 37-to-16 strikeout-to-walk ratio across 39 innings.
David Peralta is only 2-for-17 (.118) against Gonsolin, who owns a 3-2 record and 3.61 ERA in 11 career games (10 starts) vs. Arizona.
The D-backs are monitoring the status of catcher Daulton Varsho, who exited Friday’s game in the fifth inning with right-shoulder soreness and is listed as day-to-day.
Los Angeles infielder Max Muncy has missed the past two games with a sore left elbow and could be headed to the injured list. He suffered a torn ulnar collateral ligament at the end of last year and reinjured the elbow last Monday.
“We all know he’s been grinding with the arm issue,” Roberts said. “I’m going to give him some time off to kind of reset the arm. I don’t know if there’s an aggravation in there. But we just have to kind of temper back a little bit.”
–Field Level Media