Dodgers' Kershaw looks to improve fortunes vs. D-backs

Los Angeles Dodgers left-hander Clayton Kershaw has made more than three career starts in 15 different stadiums.

He has a losing record in only one: Chase Field.

That's where he will be Saturday night when the Dodgers take on the hot Arizona Diamondbacks in the third game of a four-game set in Phoenix. Arizona won the first two, despite falling behind 3-0 in both games.

Kershaw is 6-8 with a 3.84 ERA in 16 starts at Arizona. By contrast, he is 10-1 against the D-backs in Dodger Stadium.

He'll have to deal with an Arizona team that has tied its season high with five consecutive victories and is three games over .500 for the first time since June 16. The Diamondbacks are 4 1/2 games back of the second wild card in the National League but have climbed over the San Francisco Giants, New York Mets and Milwaukee Brewers during their five-game streak.

"We're playing good baseball right now," said Arizona rookie Josh Rojas, who hit his first career home run Friday night to help the D-backs rally for a 5-4 win. "The hits are falling when we need them to; we're getting guys on base. We're playing well and getting wins."

Kershaw (13-3, 2.76 ERA) had won five consecutive starts before falling to the New York Yankees on Sunday, despite striking out 12 without a walk. The three-time National League Cy Young Award winner gave up three runs in seven innings as the Dodgers fell 5-1.

He is averaging 9.5 strikeouts per nine innings, but that's not as good as the number posted by his Saturday counterpart, Arizona lefty Robbie Ray, who whiffs an average of 11.9 batters per nine innings.

Ray (11-7, 3.86) is looking for his first win against the Dodgers this season in his fifth try. He is 0-2 with a 4.07 ERA over 24 1/3 innings. As is sometimes the case with Ray, walks have been problematic, as he has issued 12 free passes to Los Angeles while allowing just 15 hits and striking out 34.

In his career against the Dodgers, he is 7-5 with a 2.97 ERA in 19 starts.

Los Angeles was prepared to not have slugging infielder Max Muncy for this series, but the news got worse Friday when an MRI exam revealed a small fracture in his right wrist after he was hit by a pitch Wednesday. The Dodgers placed him on the 10-day injured list and activated Kristopher Negron from the injured list.

"It wasn't good news, it wasn't bad news," Muncy said on about the fracture.

"Yes, there is something in there, but we're not looking at a super long timetable. We're hoping that it's maybe just a week or two. At this point, it's kind of just how the wrist responds to some treatment and once the inflammation and stuff gets out of there, then we can go from there."

Arizona rested All-Star Ketel Marte on Friday night because of a sore hamstring that forced him out of Tuesday's game and led to an early exit Thursday night as a precaution. Manager Torey Lovullo did not commit to Marte playing Saturday.

--Field Level Media
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