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News » Diamondbacks-Dodgers Preview 2009-05-04

Diamondbacks-Dodgers Preview 2009-05-04

Diamondbacks-Dodgers Preview 2009-05-04
Off to the best home start in their franchise's 126 years, the Los Angeles Dodgers will next attempt to make National League history Monday night.

In the opener of a two-game series with the Arizona Diamondbacks, the Dodgers will try to become the first NL team in the modern era to win their first 11 home games.

"We're supposed to win at home. This is our field," said Chad Billingsley, who improved to 5-0 in Sunday's 7-3 victory. "When you're sitting on the bench, you can see the intensity of the crowd. That makes a huge difference for us."

The Los Angeles pitching staff has been the difference on the field, posting a 2.57 ERA at Dodger Stadium while holding opponents to a .189 average.

Besides having won five straight at home against the Diamondbacks, Los Angeles has won seven of the last eight meetings overall - two of three in Arizona from April 10-12.

Eric Stults (2-1, 5.50 ERA) won one of those games, allowing one run over 5 1-3 innings in an 11-2 victory April 11, and will look to beat the Diamondbacks again Monday.

His only start this season at Dodger Stadium came April 16 when he beat San Francisco, giving up two runs in five innings. However, the left-hander lost to the Giants on Friday night with his worst outing of the year, recording eight outs before exiting after giving up five runs.

"He just couldn't throw the ball where he wanted to throw it," Dodgers manager Joe Torre said following the 9-4 defeat. "He's all about command. He's not overpowering. He just wasn't able to command his pitches tonight. He had a good curveball, but his other stuff wasn't there."

After winning the previous two games in their last at-bat, the Dodgers spared the drama Sunday with three runs in the first inning and four in the sixth. With four starters resting, including left fielder Manny Ramirez, Los Angeles produced 10 hits with Juan Pierre, Orlando Hudson and Juan Castro getting two apiece.

"You can't win a lot of games without getting some breaks," Torre said. "We've gotten some key hits."

Hudson, who matched a season high with three RBIs on Sunday, is hitting .475 (19-for-40) at home while Andre Ethier has hit .389 (14-for-36) with four homers and 15 RBIs. Ramirez is 10-for-30 with three home runs at Dodger Stadium.

Ramirez is a career .500 hitter (9-for-18) against Arizona left-hander Doug Davis (2-3, 2.91), who starts Monday seeking his third scoreless effort in four starts.

Davis allowed two hits over seven innings Friday night in a 10-0 win over the Cubs and blanked San Francisco for eight innings in his only road start this season April 18.

He's 5-3 lifetime against Los Angeles but has been awful in losing his last two starts at Dodger Stadium, allowing nine earned runs and 15 hits in 6 1-3 innings.

A major league-worst .229 batting average is a bigger concern for manager Bob Melvin, but the Diamondbacks (11-14) rallied to tie Sunday's game in Milwaukee before falling 4-3 to split the four-game series. Arizona recorded five hits, but Mark Reynolds, Miguel Montero and Justin Upton hit solo homers in the seventh.

"We hit some home runs," Melvin said. "We just don't string enough hits together right now."

Upton has four homers and 11 RBIs during a 10-game hit streak after beginning the season 6-for-36 (.167).

Author:Fox Sports
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Added: May 4, 2009

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