The Arizona Diamondbacks look to complete their second three-game sweep in Los Angeles this season when they try to defeat the Dodgers for the eighth straight time.
Arizona continued its mastery of Los Angeles with a 4-3 victory on Wednesday. Luis Gonzalez drilled a go-ahead, two-run homer in the eighth and four relievers combined for 4 2-3 scoreless innings.
Despite the win, the Diamondbacks were eliminated from postseason contention when San Diego beat San Francisco on Wednesday.
Arizona, which also swept a three-game set at Chavez Ravine from April 25-27, has won four straight and seven out of eight overall. The Diamondbacks never made a serious charge in the NL West race after pulling into a first-place tie on July 31.
“I think wins and losses have a lot to do with the perception of how we’re playing,” Arizona manager Bob Melvin said. “Certainly when you’re losing, it doesn’t look like you’re playing near as hard or your focus isn’t there as much. That’s just a product of losing. I think the focus and approach has been the same all year.”
Rookie Dustin Nippert makes his third career start for Arizona. He was originally scheduled to start Wednesday, but Melvin opted for veteran Shawn Estes since the Diamondbacks were mathematically still in contention.
“I’ve thrown one full side (session) and two little half sides to stay as fresh as I could be,” Nippert said. “It’s (tough), I’ve never had to do it before. It’s the first time I’ve been bumped from a start. With days off, you get a little antsy, but you work through it.”
The 24-year-old right-hander gave up five runs and four hits over 4 2-3 innings in his last outing, a 6-5 loss to Colorado on Sept. 16. Nippert was recalled from Double-A Tennessee on Sept. 3 after going 8-3 with a Southern League-leading 2.38 ERA in 18 starts for the Smokies.
The Dodgers will turn to Odalis Perez, who is making his second start since returning from a strained oblique muscle suffered on Aug. 17. Perez pitched two innings—a predetermined amount—and allowed one run and two hits in an 8-3 loss to Pittsburgh last Saturday.
“I felt weird. It’s been five, six weeks since I’ve been in a real game,” Perez said. “It’s tough to have your command.”
The veteran southpaw is facing Arizona for the first time this season. Perez is 4-5 with a 3.27 ERA against the Diamondbacks in 16 career appearances, including 15 starts.
The Dodgers fell to 40-40 at home entering their final contest at Chavez Ravine, where they have not had a losing record since going 37-44 in 1999.