The Arizona Diamondbacks would love to increase their lead in the National League West before next week’s All-Star break and will have the opportunity starting Monday against the visiting Los Angeles Dodgers. Arizona has won five straight and leads the division by 4 1/2 games over second-place Los Angeles, which has won 12 of its last 15 games. Dodgers center fielder Matt Kemp missed the last two games with an irritated left shoulder, but is expected to return to the starting lineup Monday.
Arizona is coming off a three-game sweep of Colorado, which was outscored 22-2 and held to a total of 12 hits. First baseman Paul Goldschmidt leads the National League with 74 RBIs and third baseman Martin Prado is finally showing signs of breaking out of his season-long slump. The suddenly explosive Dodgers’ offense is led by rookie phenom Yasiel Puig and shortstop Hanley Ramirez, who is hitting .478 during his career-high 18-game hitting streak.
TV: 9:40 p.m. ET, Prime Ticket (Los Angeles), Fox Sports Arizona
PITCHING MATCHUP: Dodgers RH Zack Greinke (6-2, 4.30 ERA) vs. Diamondbacks RH Randall Delgado (1-2, 3.67)
Greinke earned his third consecutive win Wednesday against the Rockies despite tying a career high with seven walks over five innings. Jason Kubel is 10-for-31 with two homers against Greinke, who is 0-3 with a 6.82 ERA in six career starts against the Diamondbacks. Kubel blasted a solo homer off Greinke on June 11, when the right-hander yielded two runs over seven frames at Dodger Stadium.
Delgado allowed two runs while striking out a career-high nine batters over seven innings Wednesday against the Mets. The 23-year-old has not allowed more than three earned runs in any of his four starts, and has posted a 25-to-4 strikeout-to-walk ratio over 27 innings this season. He has been a pleasant surprise after struggling in 13 starts for Triple-A Reno earlier this year.
1. Newly acquired RHP Ricky Nolasco will make his Dodgers debut Tuesday, with LHP Chris Capuano moving to the bullpen.
2. Arizona’s starting pitchers have worked eight innings in three consecutive games.
3. The Dodgers have gone 11-2 in their last 13 games against National League West opponents.
PREDICTION: Dodgers 6, Diamondbacks 3