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Diamondbacks take on Dodgers in search of fifth straight series win

Arizona Diamondbacks starting pitcher Zack Godley throws to the San Francisco Giants during the first inning of a baseball game Monday, April 9, 2018, in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

At 9-3, the Arizona Diamondbacks lead the NL West and are among the top teams in baseball to begin the 2018 campaign, largely in part due to their pitching.

Through 12 games, Arizona’s pitching staff has produced eight quality starts to go along with a 2.72 ERA (third-best in MLB) and a .211 opponent batting average (fifth-best in MLB).

A familiar foe, the Los Angeles Dodgers are no stranger to the depth of Arizona’s pitching. The Dodgers (4-7) were swept at Chase Field between April 2-4 and were held to eight runs in the three-game series, seven of which came in the first game.

Winners of a franchise-record four series to open the season, the Diamondbacks will look to stay hot against the Dodgers.

As the season series shifts to Los Angeles for three games as the Dodgers will try to right the ship while the Diamondbacks have a chance to extend their lead in the division.

All three games will be on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station.

Pitching matchups

Game 1 – Friday, April 13. First pitch is at 7:10 p.m. MST

Arizona opens the three-game set with Zack Greinke on the mound against Kenta Maeda. Greinke is 1-2 with a 7.56 ERA in three starts at Dodger Stadium since signing with Arizona in 2016 following three seasons with Los Angeles. Maeda won his first start of the season with a 10-strikeout performance against the Giants before working out of the bullpen last weekend.

Game 2 – Saturday, April 14. First pitch is at 6:10 p.m. MST

The second game features Taijuan Walker versus Rich Hill. Walker will face Los Angeles for the second time this season. He gave up three earned runs over five innings of work against the Dodgers on April 2, a game that Arizona scored three in the ninth inning before walking off in the 15th. Both of Hill’s starts this year have come against San Francisco and he is 1-1 with a 2.70 ERA.

Game 3 – Sunday, April 15. First pitch is at 1:10 p.m. MST 

The series finale takes place on Jackie Robinson Day with both teams throwing their most effective pitchers thus far. Zack Godley (2-0, 0.64 ERA) faces Clayton Kershaw (0-2, 1.89 ERA) in a rematch of the team’s April 4 meeting that Arizona won 6-1.

Godley has been lights out with 12 strikeouts against one walk in two starts on the year. Despite not being in the win column, Kershaw has conceded four earned runs in three starts. In those games, the Dodgers offense’ has produced three runs.

Players to watch

Diamondbacks – A.J. Pollock

Early trips to the disabled list for third baseman Jake Lamb and outfielder Steven Souza Jr. have forced outfielder A.J. Pollock to elevate his play. His batting average doesn’t pop off the page but seven doubles in 12 games does. Pollock is tied for the team lead in hits with 13 and leads Arizona with nine runs batted in and four stolen bases.

Dodgers – Yasmani Grandal 

In a lineup featuring the bats of Cody Bellinger and Corey Seager, catcher Yasmani Grandal can sometimes be forgotten about. But in this case, it’s difficult to overlook his .375 batting average coupled with the team lead in hits (12), home runs (2) and runs batted in (5). Grandal has four multi-hit games in 2018 and has been the most consistent bat for the Dodgers.

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