Struggles on the road may be one reason why the Los Angeles Dodgers are sputtering into the final week of the season instead of playing for another division crown.
Now, they’re having trouble with last-place Arizona.
The Dodgers will try to re-establish their success over the Diamondbacks when they conclude a three-game series Sunday afternoon at Chase Field.
Los Angeles (75-80) is 32-45 on the road this season after going 45-36 last season en route to its second consecutive NL West title.
The Dodgers haven’t been much of a factor in the division race this year, partly due to an 11-24 away record since the All-Star break. They lost 5-2 at Arizona (63-92) on Saturday.
Los Angeles, though, has dominated the season series, winning 11 of 14 meetings with a 6-2 record in Phoenix.
Sending Chad Billingsley(notes) (11-11, 3.70 ERA) to the mound might help the Dodgers bounce back. The right-hander is 2-0 with a 3.33 ERA and 25 strikeouts in 24 1-3 innings over his last four starts at Arizona.
Billingsley won his latest road outing against the Diamondbacks on July 4, yielding one run while fanning eight in six innings of a 3-1 victory.
He hasn’t been that sharp lately, and is trying to avoid equaling a career high with a loss in four consecutive starts.
Billingsley is 0-3 with a 5.19 ERA since beating San Francisco on Sept. 3, receiving zero runs of support in 17 1-3 innings. That stretch is part of a 10-game span in which he has a 2-6 record with a 3.16 ERA and has been backed by one or fewer runs in seven contests.
Billingsley has lost four starts in a row twice, most recently from April 8-24, 2008.
The third baseman leads Arizona with 32 homers, but is hitting a career-low .199 while leading the majors with 206 strikeouts. He could become the first everyday player to finish a season with a higher strikeout total than batting average.
Reynolds is 6 for 29 with two homers and 11 strikeouts versus Billingsley.
The left-hander allowed one run with seven strikeouts in eight innings of Tuesday’s 3-1 win over Colorado.
“It was nice to go out there and show people what I am capable of,” Saunders said. “The biggest key (Tuesday) was throwing strike one.”
Saunders is 1-1 with a 3.86 ERA in three starts against the Dodgers.