The Arizona Diamondbacks will try to win their seventh straight game when they go for a four-game sweep of the Los Angeles Dodgers on Sunday afternoon in Phoenix.
The winning streak has pulled the Diamondbacks within 3 1/2 games of the second wild card in the National League.
"We are on a good path," Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo told reporters after a 6-5 win over the Dodgers on Saturday night.
The Diamondbacks have rallied from early 3-0 deficits in their past two games against the Dodgers and won both by one run.
"I'm not predicting a championship by any means," Lovullo said. "However, when I see things like that, I'm really proud of these guys because a week ago we were having a totally different conversation, and we've finally strung together a lot of good things because of the hard work we're continuing to put in."
The Dodgers have a 17-game lead over the Diamondbacks in the NL West, but a few areas of concern have arisen.
Not only did Clayton Kershaw lose a second straight start for the first time all season on Saturday night, but closer Kenley Jansen continues to give up runs.
He surrendered a solo home run to Eduardo Escobar in a non-save situation on Saturday, which ended up being the difference in the 6-5 loss. Jansen has given up a run in two of his past three save situations as well.
"It certainly wasn't a good pitch," Dodgers manager Dave Roberts told reporters of the ball Escobar hit for the home run. "I didn't mind the pitch selection, ahead in the count and tried a slider, and he left it belt high."
Dustin May was originally in line to start on Sunday, but the Dodgers are expected to take Ross Stripling (4-4, 3.64 ERA) off the injured list and send him out.
May will likely be the first reliever out of the bullpen.
Arizona plans to send rookie left-hander Alex Young (6-3, 3.81) to the mound.
Young has won his past two starts to erase a three-start losing streak. He had gone 3-0 in five starts in June with a 2.66 ERA, winning his first four major league decisions overall.
Young made his only relief appearance this season in a 5-4 loss at Dodger Stadium on July 2, throwing 2 1/3 shutout innings in his second major league appearance.
He had his shortest start of the season at Dodger Stadium on Aug. 10, giving up four runs and five hits in 3 1/3 innings of a 4-0 loss.
Roberts told reporters on Saturday that he planned to keep shortstop Corey Seager out of the starting lineup on Sunday to give him a break.
He kept right fielder Cody Bellinger on the bench at the start of Saturday's game for the same reason. Bellinger delivered a pinch-hit double in the ninth inning.
The Dodgers loaded the bases with no outs in the ninth, but the Diamondbacks never gave up the lead.
"When you collect wins like that, when your backs are semi-against the wall with the tying run at second base and the winning run at first base, and you can slow the heart rate down, and execute and make plays, I think that's what championship teams do," Lovullo said.
--Field Level Media
D-backs go for sweep of slumping Dodgers
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