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Arizona Diamondbacks vs. Los Angeles Dodgers series preview

Arizona Diamondbacks starting pitcher Robbie Ray throws to the Los Angeles Dodgers during the first inning of a baseball game Thursday, Aug. 30, 2018, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

The Arizona Diamondbacks head to Dodger Stadium to take on the Los Angeles Dodgers Aug. 9-11.

Arizona currently sits in second place in the National League West, 18 games behind the Dodgers.

However, the D-backs are only 1.5 games out of what is a crowded second NL Wild Card spot with six teams within three games of each other.

Despite being far behind the Dodgers in the division standings, this series could prove to be huge for the team’s Wild Card chances.

The D-backs are coming into the series on a winning note having won four of their last six games.

They won both three-game series against the Washington Nationals and Philadelphia Phillies, who are ahead of Arizona in the standings.

Meanwhile, the Dodgers are coming off a three-game sweep of the St. Louis Cardinals and have won eight of their last 10 games.

The last time the D-backs played against the Dodgers was when they were swept in a two-game series at Dodger Stadium.

Arizona has not fared well against the Dodgers this year, winning four of their 12 games played against the division rival.

With hopes to turn that record around, Robbie Ray will be starting for the D-backs on Friday night.

In his last outing on Tuesday, Ray went five innings and allowed four runs on six hits in a win against the Nationals.

Ray is 0-2 versus the Dodgers this year with a 4.42 ERA in three starts.

On the other side, right-hander Walker Buehler will make his fourth start against Arizona this season.

In his last outing, Buehler pitched a complete game allowing only one run on five hits against the San Diego Padres.

Buehler has struggled versus the D-backs this year allowing nine runs in three previous starts, the second-most runs he’s allowed against a team this season.

Saturday’s game features a matchup of D-backs rookie Alex Young versus Dodgers right-hander Kenta Maeda.

On the season, Young is 4-1 with a 2.60 ERA and has 29 strikeouts in seven games.

Young made one relief appearance this year and that was against the Dodgers when he went 2.1 innings without giving up a hit.

Out of all the Dodgers’ starters, Maeda is perhaps the most vulnerable of them all.

But against Arizona this year, he has only given up four runs and seven hits in two games pitched.

In the series finale on Sunday, the D-backs will face their toughest challenge going up against one of the league’s best pitchers this season.

Right-hander Hyun-Jin Ryu will start against newly acquired starter Mike Leake.

Ryu is the front-runner for the NL Cy Young award with a 1.53 ERA and a 0.936 WHIP in 21 starts.

His numbers against the D-backs this season are even better. Ryu is 2-0 with a 0.69 ERA in two starts, only giving up one run in 13 innings.

He was recently put on the injured list with a sore neck but is expected to start on Sunday.

Leake made his first start in a D-backs uniform on Tuesday against the Phillies going 5.1 innings and allowing two runs on 11 hits.

This will be his first start against the Dodgers this season.

The road trip continues when the D-backs head to Coors Field to take on the Colorado Rockies for a three-game set Aug. 12-14.

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