Arizona (60-73) at Los Angeles (79-54)

Cloudy Currently: Los Angeles, CA
Temp: 61° F
  • Game info: 10:10 pm EDT Wed Sep 2, 2009
Preview | Box Score | Recap

Although the Los Angeles Dodgers boast a lineup featuring Manny Ramirez(notes) in the cleanup spot, No. 2 hitter Matt Kemp(notes) is quickly becoming one of the most-feared batters on the team.

Kemp tries to extend his home run streak to five straight games and help the NL West-leading Dodgers win for the sixth time in eight contests Wednesday night against the Arizona Diamondbacks.

With Ramirez batting .246 with two home runs and five RBIs in his last 17 games, Kemp is giving Los Angeles (79-54) a needed lift.

Kemp homered for the fourth consecutive game Tuesday to help Los Angeles beat the Diamondbacks (60-73) 4-3. He’s batting .440 with five home runs and nine RBIs in his last six.

“I’m swinging the bat well and good things are happening,” the Dodgers center fielder said. “Hopefully, I can do that the rest of September and take it on into October and the playoffs.”

With 87 RBIs, Kemp trails Andre Ethier(notes) by one for the team lead.

Ethier drove in his 88th Tuesday via a bases-loaded walk that forced in the go-ahead run in the seventh inning. Then in the eighth, Ethier prevented Arizona from scoring the tying and go-ahead runs by leaping to make an outstanding catch at the top of the right-field wall to rob pinch-hitter Brandon Allen(notes).

Ethier’s grab helped the Dodgers win for the fifth time in seven games and remain 5 1/2 games ahead of second-place Colorado.

When the series continues Wednesday, Los Angeles expects to have Jim Thome(notes) in uniform, although it is uncertain if he’ll play. Thome, batting .249 with 23 home runs and 74 RBIs, was acquired from the Chicago White Sox on Monday.

Chad Billingsley(notes) (12-8, 3.83 ERA) takes the mound for the Dodgers looking to put a disappointing end to August behind him.

After going 2-0 with a 1.59 ERA in his first three August starts, Billingsley posted a 5.73 ERA while losing his final two starts of the month. Billingsley, who has not lost three consecutive starts since dropping four in a row April 8-24, 2008, allowed four runs, seven hits and four walks in five innings of Friday’s 4-2 defeat at Cincinnati.

“It’s definitely frustrating when you’re not pitching well late in the season,” the right-hander said. “I’ve just got to keep trying to figure something out.”

Billingsley appears to have a good chance to do just that, as he has posted a 0.93 ERA while winning his last three starts against the Diamondbacks. In his only start of the season versus Arizona on June 3, Billingsley gave up four hits in six innings of a 1-0 win.

The Diamondbacks saw their five-game winning streak end with Tuesday’s defeat.

Justin Upton(notes), who had three hits, is batting .500 with three homers, six RBIs and eight runs in seven games since coming off the disabled list due to a strained right oblique. It could be tough for him to continue this surge, as he’s 1 for 10 lifetime against Billingsley.

Max Scherzer(notes) (8-8, 4.26) takes the ball for Arizona trying to win back-to-back starts for the first time since winning three in a row June 11-23.

Scherzer wasn’t his best against Houston on Friday, but he didn’t have to be as the Diamondbacks scored 14 runs for him. The right-hander allowed six runs while striking out eight in six innings of a 14-7 win.

Scherzer continues to rack up strikeouts, tallying 30 in 22 2-3 innings over his last four starts. His ratio of 9.69 strikeouts per nine innings is sixth-best in the majors.

He had four strikeouts in his lone start of the season against the Dodgers on May 5, while also giving up three runs and four hits in six innings of a 3-1 loss.

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Starting Pitchers

M. Scherzer Was vs. C. Billingsley Phi
9-11 Record 12-11
4.12 ERA 4.03
174 K 179
63 BB 86
1.34 WHIP 1.32


Wednesday, Sep 2