Painstaking preview: Skidding Diamondbacks host slumping Dodgers

Jul 5, 2012, 11:58 PM | Updated: Jul 6, 2012, 1:02 am

I skipped Wednesday’s series finale versus the Padres to
attend my sister-in-law’s Fourth of July cookout. The
motley band of suspected attendees to the party had me
skeptical of the event. I had serious belief that the
cookout might flop, dampening my favorite holiday on the
calendar. To my surprise, however, the heterogeneous group
of celebratory citizens mingled with exceptional
amicability, making the party a smashing success.

Bear with me.

Similarly, an assorted band of Padres arrived to Chase
Field on Monday, and the Diamondbacks must have
anticipated a much different outcome from their visit.
Many, if not most, expected the Diamondbacks to get back
on track this homestand, as they were slated to face the
bottom-of-the-division Padres and scuffling Dodgers.

And, to the surprise of just about everyone, the Padres
managed to sweep the Diamondbacks for the first time ever
at Chase Field, scoring 23 runs in the three-game series.

Thursday, the Diamondbacks will look to make up some
ground on the division-leading Dodgers. With a series win,
the Diamondbacks could climb to just four games back from
the division lead. They’ll need a four-game sweep to get
to the All Star break with a winning record.

Probables

Thursday, July 5, 6:40 PM MST: RHP Nathan Eovaldi (0-5;
4.61 ERA) vs. LHP Wade Miley (9-4; 2.87)

Both Miley and Eovaldi will look to rebound from bad last
outings on Thursday night. Despite going winless in his
first seven starts this year, Eovaldi pitched quite well
until his last two starts. Miley, the All Star, was
extremely consistent until Saturday in Milwaukee, when he
allowed eight runs over 3.2 innings. Miley beat the
Dodgers in Los Angeles earlier this year, giving up only
one run over 6.2 innings and he is 4-0 with a 1.86 ERA in
his last four home starts.

Friday, July 6, 6:40 PM MST: LHP Clayton Kershaw (6-4;
2.45) vs. RHP Josh Collmenter (0-2; 4.41)

After getting a torrent of flak in March and April for his
shaky starts, Collmenter has filled his long relief role
admirably, logging a 1.40 ERA in 12 appearances (32.2
innings pitched). He started in Daniel Hudson’s spot on
Sunday in Milwaukee, holding the Brewers to one run in six
innings. Kershaw, the 2011 NL Cy Young winner, has
struggled to get run support. In three of his four losses,
he has allowed two runs or less.

Saturday, July 7, 7:10 PM MST: RHP Chad Billingsley (4-8;
4.80) vs. RHP Trevor Cahill (6-7; 3.63)

You could argue that Cahill has lost his last two starts
because of self-committed fielding errors. Prior to that,
however, Cahill hadn’t lost a game in June while keeping
his ERA to below 3.00 for the month. Billingsley, who has
the second spot in the Dodgers’ rotation, has been largely
ineffective all year, losing his last four starts and five
of his last seven.

Sunday, July 8, 1:10 PM MST: LHP Chris Capuano (9-3; 2.62)
vs. RHP Trevor Bauer (0-1; 9.82)

Capuano, once a rookie with the Diamondbacks, is pitching
the best season of his eight-year career. Bauer, the
newest Diamondbacks rookie, is pitching the first season
of his career. Capuano is a crafty lefty who relies on
lots of movement and deceitful off-speed pitches to be
effective. Bauer is an aggressive strikeout pitcher who
has struggled to get results in his first two big league
starts. (You’ll have to skip brunch if you want to see
Bauer’s notoriously-unique pregame routine.)

Diamondbacks details

• The Diamondbacks have homered in 15 consecutive
games. Nine different Diamondbacks have contributed to
that streak and Jason Kubel has a home run in seven of
those games. The 15-game home run streak is the longest
single-season streak in Diamondbacks franchise history.

• Kubel has 14 home runs this season. That’s two
more than he had in all of 2011.
• After hitting .333 with 14 RBIs in June, Justin
Upton is 1-for-18 (.056) in the month of July.
• Five Diamondbacks have more home runs than Justin
Upton this season. If this stands, it will be the first
time in Upton’s career that he hasn’t been among the
team’s top five home run hitters.
• The spikes that Aaron Hill wore in each of his two
cycles this season are headed to the Baseball Hall of Fame
in Cooperstown.
• Prior to Wednesday, the Diamondbacks had never
been swept by the Padres in a three-game series at Chase
Field.
• The Diamondbacks finished their first half of the
season (81 games) three games below .500, at 39-42. At
this time last year, they were seven games above .500, at
44-37.
• Willie Bloomquist, Thursday’s starting third
baseman, is 10-for-23 (.435) versus the Dodgers this
season. Ryan Roberts is 6-for-16 (.375), Upton is 7-for-20
(.350), and Lyle Overbay is batting 5-for-8 (.625) .
• Speaking of Bloomquist, he leads NL shortstops
with a .301 batting average (minimum of 250 plate
appearances) .
• With a win on Thursday, Miley would be the first
NL rookie with 10 wins before All Star break since
Kazuhisa Ishii was 11-5 in 2002 for the Dodgers.
• The Diamondbacks have six players with 30 or more
RBIs, which is tied for the second-most in the National
League.
• Hill has a 19-game home hitting streak. He is
hitting .461 in that stretch.
• Dr. Lewis Yocum will perform Tommy John surgery on
RHP Daniel Hudson on Monday in Los Angeles.
• Joe Saunders is pitching in a rehab start at Salt
River Fields on Sunday night at 7pm.

Dodgers notes

• The Dodgers are 6-14 in their last 20 games.
• Mark Ellis has been reactivated for the Dodgers,
but Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier, and Dee Gordon are all on the
disabled list.
• The Dodgers have 10 players on the disabled list
— more than any team in baseball.
• On the road, the Dodgers are 19-21; they’re 2-1 at
Chase Field so far this season.
• Dodgers pitchers have the second-best staff ERA in
baseball. They also have the second-best opponents’
batting average (.230) in baseball and the third-best WHIP
(1.25) in the National League.
• Only the Padres and Cubs have scored less runs
than the Dodgers among NL teams.
• The Dodgers have an NL-fewest 46 home runs this
season.
• The Dodgers’ .683 OPS is the second-worst in the
National League.
• June didn’t treat the Dodgers well. They finished
the month with an 11-17 record and scored a major league-
fewest 83 runs, hitting just six home runs while going
191-for-899 (.212) at the plate as a team.
• Fifty of the Dodgers’ final 80 games are against
teams who currently have winning records.

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Painstaking preview: Skidding Diamondbacks host slumping Dodgers