Friday, April 18, 2014
Series preview: D-backs at Dodgers
By Mark Saxon
The Los Angeles Dodgers went through a week in which one of their best players, Yasiel Puig, got dragged into controversy about his wild escape from Cuba, they lost a series at their rival's stadium and nearly saw their best player, Hanley Ramirez, put on the disabled list by an errant fastball.
They're not going to be in a merciful mood when the struggling Arizona Diamondbacks come to town for three games this weekend.
"I know they've been scuffling, but hopefully we can keep them down for a few more games," manager Don Mattingly said.
To describe the Diamondbacks as "scuffling" is generous. Their starting pitchers have a 7.63 ERA and manager Kirk Gibson, who is beginning to slide into hot-seat territory himself, has been increasingly critical of his team's overall play. Hard to blame him. The Diamondbacks are 4-14 and already seven games behind the Dodgers and Giants in the NL West.
Oddly, this will be the third series meeting already between the teams, who feuded relentlessly in 2013. The Dodgers swept the D-backs in Australia and Arizona and will look to finish off the triangle at Dodger Stadium.
There's more bad news for Arizona. Ramirez, who was hit by a Ryan Vogelsong fastball and had to leave Wednesday's game, has vowed to play Friday night. Zack Greinke, the Dodgers' de facto ace with Clayton Kershaw down, starts the series off Friday night. The Diamondbacks have announced only one starter for the series and it's lefty Wade Miley, who has a 5.04 ERA.
From the Dodgers' perspective, this is no time for pity.