Ricky Nolasco will try to get his club back on track Monday night when the Los Angeles Dodgers try to march closer to the NL West title in the first of three straight meetings with the Arizona Diamondbacks.
The Dodgers were swept in a three-game set over the weekend by the Cincinnati Reds, losing each contest by a single run. They have lost four in a row overall to post their longest losing streak since dropping eight straight from May 1-10.
Even with Sunday's 3-2 loss to Cincinnati, Los Angeles is 11 games up on Arizona for first place in the standings with a magic number of 10 to clinch the division.
The Dodgers also have plenty of time to work themselves out of this funk.
"I was happier with our game (Sunday) than I was the first two. I wasn't that excited about our focus. Tonight was better for me. Our focus was better," Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said.
Focus has not been an issue for Nolasco, who is 7-1 with a 2.27 earned run average in 11 starts since being acquired in a trade with Miami. He won his sixth decision in a row on Tuesday, beating Colorado 7-4.
Nolasco gave up two runs over six innings, scattering five hits and a walk while striking out five. He is 12-9 with a 3.26 ERA in 29 starts overall this season.
"What Ricky has been able to do is just come in and basically give us another guy," said Mattingly. "Every time that he pitches, he gives us a good outing."
The right-handed Nolasco has won both of his starts versus the Diamondbacks this year, including his Dodgers debut on July 9. He hurled seven scoreless innings of one-run ball on that day.
In 10 career meetings with Arizona, the 30-year-old is 7-2 with a 3.84 ERA.
The Diamondbacks were able to pick up a few games over the weekend on the Dodgers, splitting a four-game set with San Francisco. They dropped Sunday's finale, however, 3-2 in 11 innings.
Arizona has lost seven of its past 11 games and is averaging 2.2 runs per game of that span. The D'backs scored eight runs versus San Francisco.
"We have not swung the bats very well at all, especially in the good situations," Arizona manager Kirk Gibson said.
The Diamondbacks also are nine games back of a wild card spot and turn to Randall Delgado in tonight's opener.
Delgado is 4-5 with a 3.69 ERA in 16 games (15 starts) this year and is winless since Aug. 2. He is 0-2 with a 4.50 ERA in six starts since and did not factor into a 4-3 victory over Toronto on Wednesday. The righty allowed three runs over seven innings with six strikeouts.
Delgado, 23, faced the Dodgers on July 8 and dropped a 6-1 decision. He gave up three runs on a season-high 11 hits in six frames of work.
He will face Los Angeles for the third time in his career.
The Diamondbacks are 7-5 versus the Dodgers this year, winning five of six in Los Angeles. However, the Dodgers swept a three-game set in Arizona when the clubs last met from July 8-10.