Los Angeles (76-54) at Arizona (41-90)

Mostly Cloudy Currently: Phoenix, AZ
Temp: 60° F
  • Game info: 9:35 pm EDT Tue Aug 31, 2004
  • TV: FSN2, FSAZ
Preview | Box Score | Recap

Steve Finley makes his return to Arizona when the NL West-leading Los Angeles Dodgers open a three-game series with the lowly Diamondbacks.

Finley, 39, faces Arizona for the first time since being traded to Los Angeles on July 31. The Dodgers acquired Finley and catcher Brent Mayne for catcher Koyie Hill, outfielder Reggie Abercrombie and left-hander Bill Murphy.

Finley, a Gold Glove center fielder, won a World Series with the Diamondbacks in 2001. Though he had the right to block the deal, Finley opted to accept it and help the Dodgers make their push for the postseason.

Finley has struggled at the plate of late, however, managing just one hit in his last 14 at-bats. He may sit out Tuesday’s series opener against staff ace and former teammate Randy Johnson, who is notoriously tough on left-handed hitters.

Finley is 1-for-6 with three strikeouts in his career against Johnson.

Robin Ventura passed Babe Ruth and Hank Aaron in the record book and pulled alongside Ted Williams and Jimmie Foxx with his 17th career grand slam in the Dodgers’ 10-2 win over the New York Mets on Sunday.

Ventura, 37, has had just 19 starts and 117 at-bats, but he’s been a key for the Dodgers, who are seeking their first playoff berth since 1996. He had tiebreaking, pinch RBI single in the ninth inning of a 5-4 win over San Diego on April 6, a pinch two-run homer for a 7-6 win at Arizona on July 17 and a pinch 12th-inning homer for a 2-1 victory at San Diego on Aug. 1.

“To have a player of this guy’s magnitude and have other players see how he allows himself to be managed, how he’ll do whatever you ask him to do, you can’t put a price tag on that,” Dodgers manager Jim Tracy said of Ventura.

“Those type of people are invaluable to a successful club.”

Ventura, who has just four homers this season, is tied for fourth on the grand slam list, trailing only Lou Gehrig (23), Eddie Murray (19) and Willie McCovey (18).

Edgar Gonzalez held Cincinnati hitless into the seventh inning Sunday, but gave up a two-run homer to Adam Dunn as the Diamondbacks lost 6-2. Arizona had won two straight.

Diamondbacks shortstop Alex Cintron was out of the lineup with a sore left quadriceps. His status for Tuesday’s game is uncertain.

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Starting Pitchers

J. Weaver LAD vs. R. Johnson SF
13-13 Record 16-14
4.01 ERA 2.60
153 K 290
67 BB 44
1.30 WHIP 0.90