Arizona (79-73) at Los Angeles (80-70)

Fair Currently: Los Angeles, CA
Temp: 77° F
  • Game info: 10:10 pm EDT Thu Sep 18, 2003
Preview | Box Score | Recap

Wilson Alvarez will try to revive the Los Angeles Dodgers’ fading playoff hopes as they finish their three-game series against the Arizona Diamondbacks.

The Dodgers have lost two straight to drop 3 1/2 games behind Florida in the NL wild-card race with 12 games remaining.

Brandon Webb and Matt Mantei combined on a two-hitter and Luis Gonzalez homered twice as Arizona defeated Los Angeles 2-0 on Wednesday.

The loss, combined with San Francisco’s 8-3 win over San Diego, clinched the NL West title for the Giants.

The Dodgers are counting on Alvarez to give them a chance to avoid a sweep on Thursday.

Having gone through a long bout with shoulder and arm trouble, the 33-year-old left-hander has made a resurgence with Los Angeles, evident in his four-hitter in the Dodgers’ 6-0 win over the Padres on Friday.

Alvarez struck out seven and walked one as he won his fourth consecutive decision, spanning seven starts. The win over the Padres marked the third time in those seven starts that he had pitched at least seven innings and not given up a run.

For the season, Alvarez is 5-1 with a 2.16 ERA in 18 appearances, including nine solid starts.

Alvarez missed most of the 2000 and 2001 seasons while recovering from rotator cuff surgery done in May 2000. He went 2-3 for Tampa Bay in 2002, then signed a minor league contract with the Dodgers last winter.

“For Wilson to have done what he’s done since we got him is kind of amazing,” Dodgers manager Jim Tracy said.

Alvarez won’t have a chance at winning if Los Angeles doesn’t start scoring some runs against Arizona’s pitching staff. The Dodgers have been held to two runs in the first two games of the series.

The Diamondbacks have only slim playoff hopes left.

Any combination of six Florida wins or Arizona losses would keep the Diamondbacks from making the playoffs for just the third time in the franchise’s six-year history.

STANDINGS: Diamondbacks - 3rd place, 15 GB, NL West. Dodgers - 2nd place, 13 GB, NL West.

DIAMONDBACKS PROBABLE STARTER: Miguel Batista (10-8, 3.53 ERA). Batista has won three of his last four decisions. The 32-year-old righty was roughed up for six runs and nine hits in five innings on Saturday, but still came away with a win as Arizona beat Colorado 16-6.

DODGERS PROBABLE STARTER: Alvarez (5-1, 2.16 ERA). The veteran left-hander hasn’t lost since an 8-5 defeat to San Diego on July 8.

OFFENSIVE LEADERS: Diamondbacks - Gonzalez, .301 avg., 26 HRs, 100 RBIs and 90 runs; Steve Finley, 14 SBs. Dodgers - Paul Lo Duca, .281 avg.; Jeromy Burnitz, 29 HRs; Shawn Green and Adrian Beltre, 76 RBIs; Green, 79 runs; Dave Roberts, 38 SBs.

SEASON SERIES: Diamondbacks, 10-8.

STREAKS AND NOTES: Diamondbacks - OF Gonzalez has knocked in at least 100 runs in each of his six seasons with Arizona. … For the first time since July 13, 17 and 18, Arizona’s starters won three straight games. … RHP Mantei’s career-high 25 saves lead the Diamondbacks. Dodgers - OF Green is batting .195 in 31 career at-bats against Batista. … Los Angeles ranks last in the NL with a .244 batting average, 539 runs scored and 114 home runs. … LHP Alvarez is 3-0 with a 0.86 ERA in three September starts.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Diamondbacks - 35-39 on the road; Dodgers - 44-33 at home.

INJURIES: Diamondbacks - RHP Mike Koplove (shoulder), 60-day DL. Dodgers - OF Brian Jordan (knee), 60-day DL; LHP Troy Brohawn (shoulder), 60-day DL; RHP Darren Dreifort (knee), 60-day DL; RHP Alfredo Gonzalez (shoulder), 60-day DL; LHP Derek Thompson (elbow), 60-day DL.

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Starting Pitchers

M. Batista Col vs. W. Alvarez LAD
10-9 Record 6-2
3.54 ERA 2.37
142 K 82
60 BB 23
1.33 WHIP 1.08