With one victory, the Arizona Diamondbacks regained control of the NL West. They appear to have a good chance of increasing their division lead in the series finale.
Arizona (48-49) lost Friday’s series opener 8-7 in 11 innings to fall into a first-place tie with the Dodgers (47-50), but the Diamondbacks were able to regain a one-game lead with Saturday’s 3-2 win.
“This was about as big as it’s going to get for this time of year,” said Arizona’s Conor Jackson, who hit his ninth homer Saturday and is batting .414 (12-for-29) with two RBIs in his last six games.
The Dodgers made things interesting by scoring twice in the ninth inning, but Matt Kemp flew out to right to end the game with the tying run on third base. Los Angeles has lost four of its last six overall and 12 of its last 18 to Arizona.
“The most important thing, no matter what happens (Sunday), is we play games either team can win,” Dodgers manager Joe Torre said. “It doesn’t matter what (Sunday’s) score is. If the score of the first two games is any indicator, these two clubs belong on the same field.”
Los Angeles may have trouble scoring runs against Webb (13-4, 3.23 ERA).
The 2006 NL Cy Young Award winner has won his last seven starts against the Dodgers, posting a 1.21 ERA in those outings. Webb, who hasn’t lost to Los Angeles since Sept. 7, 2004, has also recorded a 1.54 ERA while defeating the Dodgers five straight times at Chase Field.
The right-handed sinkerballer gave up two runs in 13 innings over his final two starts before the All-Star break, after going 1-2 with a 7.25 ERA in his previous four outings.
Last Sunday, he yielded two runs and seven hits while throwing 108 pitches in seven innings of a 6-3 loss at Philadelphia, but was not a factor in the decision. After that start, Webb announced he would be unavailable for Tuesday’s All-Star game, but he ended up throwing a perfect inning of relief in the 14th inning.
“He wasn’t taxed too much and it ended up being a great game that everybody was a part of,” Arizona manager Bob Melvin told the team’s official Web site. “To an extent I’m happy it happened.”
Los Angeles counters with a sinkerballer of its own in Derek Lowe (7-8, 3.85), who looks to win three straight starts for the first time this season.
Lowe is coming off one of his better starts of 2008. He allowed one run, two hits and one walk in 7 2-3 innings of a 2-1 win over Atlanta on July 9.
In his only start against Arizona this season on April 23, Lowe allowed one run and three hits in five innings of an 8-3 victory. He is 3-2 with a 2.05 ERA in his last five starts against the Diamondbacks, but is 0-3 with a 4.71 ERA in six career starts at Chase Field.
Blog Coverage from SB Nation
- Athletics beat Angels 15-10 with 6-run 8th inning
- Great expectations: Indians eye Series title after '16 run
- Orioles' Machado practices at shortstop for world classic
- Albert Pujols is ramping up recovery from surgery for Angels
- GM Alderson excited about Mets this spring
- Beltran returns to Houston in very different role