D-backs welcome Dodgers for fanless home opener

The Los Angeles Dodgers will have manager Dave Roberts back at the helm Thursday after a one-game suspension, and relief pitcher Joe Kelly might be able to face the Arizona Diamondbacks, too.

The National League West rivals will meet in Phoenix for the first of 10 matchups during the shortened season. The Thursday game, the start of a four-game series, will be the Diamondbacks' home opener.

The Dodgers are coming off a two-game road sweep at Houston, where Kelly threw close to the Astros' Alex Bregman and Carlos Correa on Tuesday, causing tempers to flare in the first game between the 2017 World Series participants.

Kelly appealed the eight-game suspension he received from Major League Baseball, keeping him temporarily available for action. Roberts served his one-game ban Wednesday during the Dodgers' 4-2, 13-inning win over the Astros.

Edwin Rios hit a leadoff, two-run home run in the top of the 13th, which could lessen some of the fatigue from a 4-hour, 44-minute game.

"I don't know. It's weird," Rios said of the new extra-inning rule that places a runner at second base to start each half-inning. "I feel like the game can just go. Extra innings are extra innings. Guy on second, it's easy for us to score a run and it can also be easy for them to score."

Right-hander Ross Stripling (1-0, 1.29 ERA) is scheduled to start Thursday for the Dodgers. Stripling held the San Francisco Giants to a run on four hits in seven innings in his start last Friday, but he is 1-4 with a 3.86 ERA in 23 career appearances (eight starts) against Arizona.

The Dodgers were 11-8 against the Diamondbacks last season but 4-6 at Chase Field.

Arizona has yet to win a series this season after dropping three of four to the San Diego Padres and splitting a two-game set with the Texas Rangers.

Left-hander Robbie Ray (0-1, 7.36 ERA) will get the home-opening start for the Diamondbacks. Ray gave up three runs on four hits in 3 2/3 innings in a loss at San Diego on Saturday.

Ray is 8-5 with a 3.15 ERA in 20 career starts against the Dodgers. He has 161 career strikeouts in 120 innings pitched against Los Angeles, his highest figures in both categories against any major league team.

The Diamondbacks gave up a 4-2 lead they held in the top of the eighth inning en route to a 7-4 loss at Texas Wednesday. Relievers Andrew Chafin and Hector Rondon allowed a combined five runs on four hits in the eighth inning, with Rondon issuing three walks.

"It's not anything that we're used to. Our bullpen has been typically one of our strong points," Arizona manager Torey Lovullo told Fox Sports Arizona after the game.

"We're super excited to come back home to the valley and play on our home turf," Lovullo said. "I wish the fans could come out and support us, but it's going to be an opening day at Chase, and nothing gets better than that for me. ... It's going to be just what we need."

--Field Level Media
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