Just over a month into the season, the Los Angeles Dodgers have already recorded a pair of six-game losing streaks.
They'll try to avoid their first seven-game slide of the year on Wednesday night behind ace Clayton Kershaw in the finale of a three-game series against the Arizona Diamondbacks.
The Dodgers have lost each of their first six games this month, just a few weeks after losing six in a row from March 14-20. During those pair of slides, 10 of the losses have come against fellow NL West residents and Los Angeles is just 5-15 against its division this season.
The Diamondbacks, meanwhile, won for the third time in four games on Tuesday with a 5-3 victory. Paul Goldschmidt snapped a tie game with a two-run homer in the ninth inning, following five straight foul balls off Dodgers reliever Brandon League to cap an 11-pitch battle.
"It's exciting when you have a chance to win the game for your team," Goldschmidt said. "It was a fastball and I knew I hit it well."
The Dodgers hoped to rally in the bottom of the frame as Diamondbacks closer J.J. Putz walked Nick Punto to begin the inning before leaving with elbow stiffness. However, Heath Bell came in and recorded three straight outs to earn his second save of the season and lock down Arizona's 14th victory in its past 17 versus Los Angeles.
Eric Chavez went 2-for-4 with a run scored and an RBI for Arizona, while Punto led Los Angeles' offense with two hits, a home run and two RBI.
"Anything we do doesn't seem to work," Dodgers manager Don Mattingly admitted. "That's the way it is right now."
Both starters remain winless on the season despite quality starts. Arizona's Brandon McCarthy allowed three runs on eight hits in 6 1/3 innings of work, while Josh Beckett was charged with two runs on nine hits over six frames of a no-decision.
The Dodgers now hope to prevent a sweep and turn to Kershaw, who was excellent last time out and hopes to duplicate the performance but with a victory in this finale.
Kershaw beat Milwaukee on April 28, striking out 12 over eight innings. He then came off the bereavement list on Friday following the death of his father and faced the San Francisco Giants, taking a no-hitter into the sixth inning. He gave up just three hits in all, but one was an RBI double in the sixth frame and he did not factor into a 2-1 loss following seven solid innings.
The 25-year-old southpaw is 3-2 with a 1.66 earned run average on the season and one of those losses came in Arizona on April 12. Kershaw was touched for three runs on six hits and three walks over 7 1/3 innings, fanning nine in a 3-0 setback.
He is 7-6 lifetime versus the Diamondbacks but with a 2.36 ERA.
Wade Miley looks to secure his first victory in nearly a month as he takes the hill for the Diamondbacks.
Miley has not won since winning for the second time in as many starts to begin the season on April 10. He followed that triumph with three straight no- decisions before getting charged with a 7-6 loss in San Diego on Friday. The left-hander was touched for a season-high four runs on nine hits and three walks over five innings of work.
He had walked seven over 4 1/3 frames in his previous start versus Colorado, though he did not allow a run.
"I felt alright, but I just wasn't executing pitches. I have to look at some video, work on some things and go from there," said Miley, who fell to 2-1 with a 3.06 ERA on the year.
The 26-year-old was 2-1 with a 2.89 ERA in four starts against the Dodgers last season.
Before Tuesday's game, the Dodgers placed Jerry Hairston Jr. on the disabled list due to a left groin strain. He joins a crowded list that includes infielders Hanley Ramirez and Mark Ellis as well as starters Zack Greinke, Chad Billingsley and Ted Lilly.