At the outset of the week, the 3-game set between the Dodgers and Diamondbacks from Arizona had all kinds of potential pennant race implications.
At the outset of the week, the 3-game set between the Dodgers and Diamondbacks from Arizona had all kinds of potential pennant race implications. Now, after a four game sweep at the hands of the Rockies, Los Angeles' playoff dreams are on life support, and Arizona is only one with something left to play for.
The Diamondbacks still have the lead in the NL West, but not by much. They look to maintain that advantage as they try to improve their play against the Dodgers in the opener of their final home series of the season Friday.
With nine games remaining, Arizona (86-67) takes a one-half game division lead over the San Diego Padres into this three-game set against the struggling Dodgers (79-74), who look to avoid matching a season high with a sixth straight loss.
The Diamondbacks were idle Thursday, but lost ground after wild-card leader San Diego beat Pittsburgh 6-3 for its seventh straight victory. It's Arizona's smallest lead since the two clubs were tied atop the division standings on Sept. 4.
Arizona has gone 10-4 since and held a four-game lead over San Diego on Sept. 13, but the Diamondbacks split their next six games, while the Padres have won seven of eight.
After hosting Los Angeles -- which is 5-1 at Chase Field this season -- the Diamondbacks play three games each at Pittsburgh and Colorado, while the Padres host the Rockies for a three-game set, then travel to San Francisco for three before finishing with a four-game series at Milwaukee.
Chris Snyder and rookie Mark Reynolds each had three hits and combined to drive in five runs in Arizona's 6-4 victory over San Francisco on Wednesday. The Diamondbacks won two of three in the series.
Though the Diamondbacks are 48-30 at home, they've struggled against the Dodgers at Chase Field and are 6-9 against them overall in 2007. Los Angeles took two of three from Arizona at home last weekend.
Livan Hernandez (10-10, 4.86 ERA) will look for a better outing against the Dodgers after giving up five runs and six hits in six innings of a 6-2 loss at Los Angeles on Saturday. The right-hander is 8-13 with a 4.42 ERA lifetime against the Dodgers, and 1-1 with a 3.50 ERA in three starts this season.
Loaiza (1-2, 7.20), meanwhile, will make his second start straight start against the Diamondbacks. The veteran right-hander allowed three runs and the homer to Snyder for his only hit, but walked seven in 4 2-3 innings of a 6-1 loss to Arizona on Sunday.
Los Angeles was swept in a four-game set at Colorado after a 9-4 loss Thursday. The Rockies used the series to move ahead of the Dodgers into third place in the NL West by two games.