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News » Dodgers-Diamondbacks Preview 2008-08-29

Dodgers-Diamondbacks Preview 2008-08-29

Dodgers-Diamondbacks Preview 2008-08-29
The Arizona Diamondbacks are struggling through one of their toughest stretches of the season. Luckily for them, their main competitors in the NL West have been playing even worse.

In a key series for baseball's weakest division, the Diamondbacks and Los Angeles Dodgers look to end their respective woes when they open a three-game set Friday night.

Arizona (68-65) has lost four straight games, but leads Los Angeles (65-69) by 3 1/2 games in the NL West thanks to the Dodgers' seven-game skid.

"Now is not the time to panic," Diamondbacks center fielder Chris Young said. "We are still in first, we still control what happens. We'll be OK. No one in here is worrying."

After getting Thursday off, Arizona begins this series in danger of losing five straight for the first time since May 26-30. The Diamondbacks will be trying to bounce back after getting swept in a three-game series with last-place San Diego, including a 5-4 loss in Wednesday's finale.

"You could sense we got a little bit too tight," Arizona manager Bob Melvin said following the debacle against the NL West's worst team. "We've been through several periods like that this year where we had to respond and we have."

The Diamondbacks have an excellent opportunity to get back on track, facing a Dodgers team that has lost nine straight on the road for the first time since dropping 11 in a row in June 1991. Los Angeles enters this series after three straight losses to major league-worst Washington.

"We have to go out there and win a ball game to start making us feel good," Dodgers manager Joe Torre said. "Right now it doesn't feel too good."

Torre made a lineup change in an attempt to end his team's slump, moving Manny Ramirez up a spot to No. 3 in the batting order while dropping Jeff Kent to cleanup, but Los Angeles lost 11-2 to Washington on Thursday night.

During their seven-game losing streak, the Dodgers are averaging 1.7 runs while batting .244.

Torre gave shortstop Nomar Garciaparra and catcher Russell Martin Thursday's game off, but both should be back in the lineup for this crucial series. They'll be facing Arizona's Doug Davis (5-8, 4.63 ERA), who is 1-1 with a 9.28 ERA in three starts versus the Dodgers this season.

The left-hander allowed three runs and seven hits in seven innings as Arizona lost 5-2 to Florida on Sunday. Davis lost for the third time in four decisions despite not walking a batter for the first time this year.

The Dodgers will counter with Hiroki Kuroda (7-9, 3.87 ERA), who has given up only one run in four of his last five starts.

In his last outing, the rookie right-hander allowed one run and two hits while striking out five in six innings Sunday night against Philadelphia. Los Angeles, though, lost 5-2 in 11 innings.

Kuroda is 1-1 with a 4.80 ERA in three starts against Arizona.

The Diamondbacks are 7-5 against the Dodgers this season.

Author:Fox Sports
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Added: August 29, 2008

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