Dodgers aim to keep momentum rolling against D'Backs
(Sports Network) - The Los Angeles Dodgers head back home to begin a nine-game residency tonight, starting with the first of three straight games versus the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chavez Ravine.
The Dodgers completed a huge three-game sweep of the San Francisco Giants on Sunday with a 4-0 win behind another brilliant performance from Clayton Kershaw. The reigning NL Cy Young Award winner threw a five-hit shutout, struck out seven and walked just one batter.
"Anytime you sweep the Giants at home, I think regardless of what happened in the previous series, that's a big deal," Kershaw said.
Luis Cruz had two hits and two RBI, and both Hanley Ramirez and Mark Ellis knocked in a run for Los Angeles, which went 7-3 on the road trip and sits just a percentage point behind the Giants for first place in the NL West. The Dodgers outscored San Francisco by a lopsided 19-3 margin during the series and posted a 10-0 win Saturday. They will also host the Cubs and Rockies on the homestand.
Now L.A. will try to keep the Diamondbacks at bay, as the ballclub is just 4 1/2 games off the pace in the division standings. Hoping to do that tonight will be Aaron Harang. The right-hander is 2-0 in his last four starts and did not record a decision in Wednesday's 3-2 loss at St. Louis, allowing only two runs in 7 1/3 innings.
He is 7-5 on the season in 20 starts to go along with a 3.39 earned run average and will face Arizona for the second time in 2012. In an 8-7 win back on May 22 in the desert, Harang was banged around for five runs and nine hits in 4 1/3 innings for the no-decision. He is 3-6 with a 2.42 ERA in 14 career games (13 starts) against Arizona.
The Diamondbacks are coming off a successful 10-game residency in which they compiled a 7-3 mark, but dropped a 5-1 decision to the New York Mets on Sunday.
Joe Saunders lasted seven innings and was reached for eight hits and four runs to absorb the loss, while Paul Goldschmidt drove in the team's only run. Mets starter R.A. Dickey held the D-backs to a run over seven innings, catching the eye of Saunders.
"You tip your hat to Dickey, he pretty much baffled us all day," Saunders said.
Arizona begins a 10-game sojourn through Los Angeles, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh this evening, and will send Trevor Cahill to the mound Monday night. Cahill has lost four of his last six starts and previously toed the rubber in Wednesday's 4-2 setback versus Colorado. He gave up all four runs in 6 2/3 innings, falling to 8-9 in 20 starts this season with a 3.86 ERA.
Cahill is 1-0 in two starts against LA this season and 2-0 with a 1.96 ERA in three career starts in this series.
Arizona has won five of nine meetings with Los Angeles this season.