Sat, 18 Sep 2021

Beefed-up Dodgers ready to open series vs. lowly D-backs

Field Level Media
30 Jul 2021, 20:19 GMT+10

A pair of new-look teams headed in opposite directions will meet when the Los Angeles Dodgers oppose the Arizona Diamondbacks on Friday in the opener of a three-game series in Phoenix.

The Dodgers enter the series after the reported blockbuster trade that landed them right-hander Max Scherzer andinfielder Trea Turner from the Washington Nationals. In addition, the weekend also is expected to mark the return of All-Star Mookie Betts and World Series MVP Corey Seager.

Betts is on the injured list with right hip inflammation and is set to return Sunday. Seager, who since breaking his right hand when he was hit by a pitch on May 15, could be activated at any point.

While the Dodgers are in both buy and recovery mode, the Diamondbacks were in sell mode this week, trading dependable third baseman Eduardo Escobar to the Milwaukee Brewers. Escobar was a first-time All-Star this season.

The Dodgers are coming off a lackluster 5-0 defeat at San Francisco on Thursday, a result that gave the first-place Giants two wins in the three-game set against second-place Los Angeles. San Francisco holds a three-game lead in the National League West.

Los Angeles will start Tony Gonsolin (2-1, 2.38 ERA) in the series opener at Arizona. The right-hander is 0-2 with a 3.86 ERA in six career appearances (five starts) against the Diamondbacks.

The Dodgers lead baseball in unearned runs allowed (58), having yielded another one Thursday, and the Diamondbacks are second in that category (55).

It's one reason Los Angeles has been somewhat disappointing after its championship season. Even so, the Dodgers are 20 games over .500 with 58 games remaining, or essentially something close to the 60-game season of 2020 when they had the best record in the regular season and went on to win the World Series.

"There is a lot of baseball to be played for the next two months of the season," Dodgers catcher Austin Barnes said. "We'll take it one game at a time and do what we can (at Arizona on Friday)."

Los Angeles also acquired injured left-handed starter Danny Duffy from the Kansas City Royals. Duffy is expected to need a few more weeks of recovery from a left forearm flexor strain.

As the Diamondbacks look toward the future, their present begins with right-hander Zac Gallen (1-5, 4.80 ERA) on the mound Friday. In his most recent outing, on the road July 23 against the Chicago Cubs, Gallen gave up seven runs in four innings. He has been much better at home, allowing three or fewer runs in four of five outings.

Against the Dodgers, Gallen is 0-1 in four career starts with a 2.31 ERA. In a September start last year at Dodger Stadium, he held the eventual champs scoreless over seven innings on one hit.

This time, Gallen won't have Escobar playing behind him. Escobar registered 22 home runs and 65 RBIs for Arizona this season after hitting 35 home runs and knocking in 118 runs as recently as 2019.

"I'm assuming our fan base would (look at) what our record is and understand that where we stand right now over the next two months, this is about acquiring as much talent as we can to continue to build forward from this point," Arizona general manager Mike Hazen said. "We are committed to doing that, and we are putting every ounce of energy into doing that."

--Field Level Media

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