Dodgers, D-backs meet with very different playoff hopes

The Los Angeles Dodgers will be in playoff games in little more than a month.

The Arizona Diamondbacks feel they are in those kind of games every night.

The Dodgers and Diamondbacks will start their final head-to-head series of the year on Thursday night in Phoenix, with Arizona facing little margin of error.

The D-backs begin the four-game set 4 1/2 games out of the second National League wild-card spot, with three teams between them and the Chicago Cubs, who sit in the final playoff position.

Arizona is riding a three-game winning streak, including taking both games at San Francisco before an off day on Wednesday.

"We did our job," D-backs manager Torey Lovullo told reporters after a 3-2 win on Tuesday when Archie Bradley earned his third save in three days. "You win a one-run game on the road and close it out the right way, I'm very proud of these guys."

Los Angeles leads the season series 10-5, including a 3-3 mark at Chase Field. The Dodgers are coming off a 6-4 win in 10 innings at Colorado on Wednesday night, pushing their lead in the NL West to 20 games over second-place Arizona.

On Thursday, the D-backs will again try to solve Dodgers left-hander Hyun-Jin Ryu (12-4, 2.00 ERA).

He is 3-0 in three starts this season against the Diamondbacks, allowing only one run in 20 innings (0.45 ERA) and giving up 12 hits while striking out 14 and walking one. He has thrown seven shutout innings in each of his past two starts vs. Arizona, including Aug. 11 in Los Angeles.

Ryu has been the front-runner for the NL Cy Young Award most of the season, although the two starts since his last outing against Arizona have conjured talk of potential fatigue. Both outings came against division leaders -- the Atlanta Braves (four runs in 5 2/3 innings) and New York Yankees (seven runs in 4 1/3 innings).

Ryu, 32, already has logged his highest innings total since 2013 but says he's feeling fine.

"To be completely honest, this year has been really good in terms of conditioning and my health," Ryu said via his interpreter, according to the Los Angeles Times. "Just by the feel of things, I feel really good."

Manager Dave Roberts said he likely would schedule Ryu for some rest in September.

"I'm actually really optimistic about my future just because I wasn't satisfied with how I pitched," Ryu said of his past two starts. "If I'm giving up that many runs and hits and I think I'm performing well, that's one thing. But in those two cases I definitely wasn't commanding my pitches well, and it's definitely not how I wanted to pitch."

Ryu is 6-3 with a 3.04 ERA in 16 career starts against the D-backs.

Arizona will counter with right-hander Merrill Kelly (9-13, 4.86 ERA). The rookie gave up three runs in six innings in his only previous appearance against the Dodgers, on July 3.

Diamondbacks outfielder/second baseman Ketel Marte left the Tuesday game with a right hamstring cramp, which flared during a trot around the bases on his 28th home run. He told reporters after the game that he felt he was "going to be ready to go on Thursday."

Dodgers second baseman Max Muncy left the Wednesday game in San Diego after getting hit by a pitch on the right wrist. X-rays were negative, and the team announced he is day-to-day.

--Field Level Media
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