ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS

Surging D-backs meet red-hot Dodgers in final matchup of regular season

Aug 28, 2023, 5:42 PM | Updated: 5:49 pm

Lourdes Gurriel Jr....

Lourdes Gurriel Jr. #12 of the Arizona Diamondbacks celebrates his run with Geraldo Perdomo #2, in front of pitcher Brusdar Graterol #48 of the Los Angeles Dodgers, to take a 2-1 lead during the ninth inning at Dodger Stadium on April 02, 2023 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

LOS ANGELES — The Arizona Diamondbacks have the best record in baseball over the past 15 games at 12-3, a stark turnaround after opening August 0-9.

The Los Angeles Dodgers are 21-4 in August, more wins than any other team in MLB over the month.

For a final time during the 2023 regular season, the two NL West clubs square off Monday through Wednesday with each series holding significant weight for Arizona’s playoff hopes.

Entering play Monday, the D-backs held onto a 1.5-game lead for the third wild card spot over both the San Francisco Giants and Cincinnati Reds, the latter of whom dropped three of four games at Chase Field last series.

Los Angeles created a significant lead in the division over the field, leading Arizona by 12 games.

The season series is knotted up at 5-5 after the Dodgers picked up a two-game sweep of Arizona during its nine-game skid.

“We’ve been playing good baseball, we’ve been doing a lot of little things right and getting timely hitting and some really good starting pitching,” manager Torey Lovullo said.

“We’re a different team than we were a month ago. We’re a different team than the last time we were in this stadium, we got to go out and prove ourselves every single day. The Dodgers are a good team. But we’re a good team too.”

The two sides met eight times in the first 10 games of the year, with the D-backs securing five wins.

Arizona has not won the season series vs. Los Angeles since 2018, dropping 30 of 38 games against the division foes in 2021 and 2022.

“They’re gritty,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said pregame. “I really like Christian Walker and how he goes about things, the talents of (Ketel) Marte and then the athleticism of that outfield. We’re seeing their two best guys. So it should be two close ballgames here, and we’ll see who plays the cleanest baseball to win.”

The Diamondbacks will run out the A-Team of starting pitchers with Zac Gallen on Monday, Merrill Kelly on Tuesday and Brandon Pfaadt Wednesday.

L.A.’s probables include Bobby Miller in the series opener, followed by Clayton Kershaw against Kelly. Wednesday’s starter is to be announced.

The Dodgers moved starter Tony Gonsolin to the 60-day injured list, as he will undergo Tommy John surgery on Friday.

Gallen’s success vs. Dodgers

Gallen has stepped up to the challenge against L.A. throughout his career with a 2.88 ERA and .186 opponent average in 10 starts.

His lone start against the Dodgers this season did not live up to that standard, as he allowed five earned runs in 4.2 innings on Opening Day.

“You could argue he is one of the most underrated pitchers in baseball,” Roberts said. “He’s smart. You can see he has a plan, he executes his plan. He pitches to both sides of the plate. He can front to back you, he can spin the baseball. He’s an ace. It’s a good challenge for us.”

D-backs lineup change

Lovullo slotted Alek Thomas in the No. 5 hole, moving Lourdes Gurriel Jr. down the sixth in Monday’s lineup. It is the highest in the order Thomas has started a game this season.

“He’s barreled the baseball, especially against right-handed pitching,” Lovullo said. “They’ve got four or five, depending on how their roster is gonna stack up, left-handed relievers. So I wanted of protect guys, get the right matchups. … If you’re going to hunt for one matchup, you’re gonna have to get some righties.”

Thomas is hitting .316 with a .395 on-base percentage over his last 13 games.

Watch out for Mookie

Dodgers star Mookie Betts is slugging .814 in August, nearly .8 points higher than anyone else in the majors.

He was crowned NL Player of the Week after hitting .615 with five extra-base hits in six games, three at Fenway Park in his first visit to his former home ballpark.

Freddie Freeman has also been tearing the cover off the ball, as he hit .500 last week with five doubles.

First pitch each night is at 7:10 p.m. on 98.7, the Arizona Sports app and ArizonaSports.com. 

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