After dominance from their pitching staff in a sweep over the defending NL champions, the Arizona Diamondbacks are set to hand the ball to their biggest offseason acquisition for the home opener.
Arizona (4-2) acquired Haren (0-0, 4.50 ERA) from Oakland for six prospects in December, hoping that he can replicate his success from last season. The right-hander went 15-9 with a 3.07 ERA for the A’s in 2007, and was the AL’s starting pitcher in the All-Star game.
“On the opener you always want one of your top couple of guys to do it,” Arizona manager Bob Melvin told the team’s official Web site. “Everyone will be watching that day and get to see what kind of pitcher Danny Haren is.”
In his first start with the Diamondbacks on Wednesday, Haren allowed three runs and four hits in six innings at Cincinnati. He also doubled, scored a run, hit a sacrifice fly and was in line for the win until the Reds’ Edwin Encarnacion hit a three-run game-ending homer in the ninth, handing Arizona a 6-5 loss.
In Haren’s only career start against the Dodgers on July 19, 2003, he yielded one run and six hits in six innings of a 3-1 win for St. Louis.
Arizona and Los Angeles (4-2) boast two of the best pitching staffs in the majors, and both are coming off impressive weekend performances.
The Dodgers, who lead the majors with a 1.70 ERA, allowed seven runs in their three-game series at San Diego’s spacious Petco Park, while the Diamondbacks, who have baseball’s third-best ERA at 2.83, allowed only five runs in their three-game sweep in the thin air of Colorado’s Coors Field.
On Sunday, Arizona defeated the Rockies 5-2 in 10 innings to complete the sweep and get a little payback after Colorado swept Arizona in last year’s NLCS.
“This sets the tone for the year, just coming here and winning three games at their place, especially after what they did to us last year,” third baseman Mark Reynolds said.
Reynolds hit a two-run homer in the ninth and Stephen Drew hit a pinch-hit solo shot in Arizona’s three-run 10th inning. Reynolds is 6-for-13 (.462) with two home runs and six RBIs in his last three games.
“It’s great to come on the road and win a series, especially against a quality opponent,” new Los Angeles manager Joe Torre said.
Martin is just 2-for-21 (.095) on the season, and hopes to get on track at Chase Field, where he is batting .357 (20-for-56) with two homers, five doubles and seven RBIs in 14 career games.
Esteban Loaiza (0-1, 3.38) makes his first start of the season Monday after giving up one run and two hits in 2 2-3 innings of relief in Wednesday’s 2-1 loss to San Francisco.
Loaiza has had no success against the Diamondbacks in his career, going 0-4 with a 6.16 ERA in seven starts against them. The right-hander went 0-2 with a 9.35 in two starts versus Arizona last season.
The Dodgers went 10-8 against the Diamondbacks in 2007, and won six of nine at Arizona, which had the NL’s third-best home record last season at 50-31.