Series Preview: Dodgers at Diamondbacks (April 12-14)

The Dodgers travel to Phoenix to take on the Arizona Diamondbacks for the weekend in a battle of teams tied for second place.

The Dodgers come off a big win in San Diego last night that involved a fight, a late-inning clutch home run from Juan Uribe, and Matt Kemp and Carlos Quentin having a post-game brush-up under the seats away from the crowds.

Dodger starting pitcher Zack Greinke will not be with the team over the weekend, returning to Los Angeles to have what is being reported as a broken collar bone on his left (non-pitching) side examined further by doctors to determine the extent of the damage, whether or not surgery will be required to repair it, and what the time table might be for his recovery.

We are still awaiting word on possible suspensions to San Diego Padres Left Fielder Carlos Quentin and Dodgers Center Fielder Matt Kemp, but as far as the games are concerned, we put last night behind us and wake up in a different town this morning, ready to play ball.

We’ll keep the preview brief today, as we’re still awaiting word on several things regarding fallout from last night’s brawl.

The Dodgers and Diamondbacks both come into this weekend series with records of 6-3, tied for second place in the National League West a half game behind the San Francisco Giants.  Carl Crawford has been the story on offense for the Dodgers, seeming to get on base and score runs at will for Los Angeles and sporting a .424 batting average to go with a .484 on base percentage.  Clayton Kershaw brings his 2-0 record and 0.00 ERA to the desert as well.  On the Diamondbacks’ side, offense rules the day.  The team enters the series with a collective .277 batting average and 12 home runs, paced by Paul Goldschmidt’s .343 average to go with 2 homers and 8 RBI.  Wade Miley leads all starting pitchers through his first two starts with a 2-0 record and a 2.13 ERA.

The first game is tonight, scheduled for a 6:40 p.m. start Los Angeles time.  Clayton Kershaw (2-0, 0.00 ERA) will take the mound for the Dodgers against Patrick Corbin (1-0, 3.00 ERA.)  Corbin was 1-1 in 3 starts against the Dodgers, giving up 3 earned runs in 14 2/3 innings and holding the Dodgers to a .218 batting average in those games.

Saturday night’s game will be a 5:10 p.m. start.  Hyun-Jin Ryu (1-1, 2.13 ERA) will go up against Ian Kennedy (1-0, 4.15 ERA.)  Ryu gave up an early home run last Sunday to Andrew McCutchen of the Pittsburgh Pirates, but then settled in to shut down the Pirates the rest of the way in 6 1/3 innings of 2 run ball, picking up the win at Dodger Stadium in his last outing.  Kennedy will look to improve on his last outing, when he gave up 4 runs in 6 innings against the Milwaukee Brewers.

Sunday’s series finale will be a 1:10 p.m. start, with Josh Beckett (0-1, 4.91 ERA) starting for the Dodgers and going up against Trevor Cahill (0-2, 5.91 ERA) for the Diamondbacks.  Beckett is coming off a shaky outing against the Padres earlier this week in which he gave up 3 earned runs in 5 innings and was susceptible to the long ball.  Cahill has not fared much better, coming off an outing against Pittsburgh in which he gave up 4 runs in 5 innings.

Stay tuned.  This early weekend series will determine which of these two teams have an edge in the divisional standings, and we should be learning more soon about the extent of Greinke’s injury (preliminary word is broken collar bone, non-throwing shoulder, 6-8 weeks estimated based on the type of the injury) and what sanctions Matt Kemp and Carlos Quentin may face after last night’s San Diego Showdown.

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