While the Los Angeles Dodgers own the best record in baseball, another unfortunate off-the-field incident has recently overshadowed their continued stellar play.
If his last two starts are any indication, Aaron Harang could help shift some of that attention back to the club's on-field performance.
Harang looks to win a third straight start as the visiting Dodgers try to extend their winning streak to a season best-tying six Tuesday night in the second of three against the Arizona Diamondbacks.
With last year's attack of fan Bryan Stow still fresh in the minds of many, another violent episode took place outside a Dodger Stadium parking lot following Sunday's 6-5 win over St. Louis. Four men were arrested for investigation of assault with a deadly weapon after beating a victim as the result of a minor car accident.
Though what transpired over the weekend had nothing to do with the club itself, it took some of the focus off of the Dodgers' impressive efforts.
Despite having played its last eight games without injured superstar Matt Kemp, Los Angeles (29-13) enters Tuesday winner of 10 of 12 after defeating Arizona 6-1 in the series opener.
"Right now, it's just momentum," manager Don Mattingly said. "You get momentum, get rolling, then you're playing with a purpose. That's all."
Los Angeles has to like its chances of keeping things going behind Harang (3-2, 3.83 ERA), who's been superb in each of his last two outings. Five days after throwing eight innings of one-run ball during a 2-1 win over Colorado, Harang scattered four hits and walked none over seven scoreless frames Thursday in an 8-1 victory at San Diego.
"You have to give credit to Aaron Harang," Padres catcher John Baker said. "I don't know how many three-ball counts he had, but it wasn't many. He was throwing strikes and making us swing the bats. When we hit it, it seemed like they were always in the right spot."
Harang credits his recent success to a small tweak in his delivery.
"I've been working slowly on (my mechanics) and the last two weeks I've focused on staying through the ball and not clearing my front side too early," he told the team's official website.
While his 3-6 record against the Diamondbacks (19-24) leaves much to be desired, Harang has compiled a 2.02 ERA over 12 career starts against Arizona - surrendering two earned runs or fewer each time.
Justin Upton is 2 for 16 lifetime against the right-hander. Chris Young, though, is 6 for 17 with three homers while Miguel Montero has gone 7 for 14 with a home run.
Montero is uncertain to be available after leaving Monday's game with a left groin injury. He's 5 for 29 (.172) over his last eight games.
The Diamondbacks have been outscored 94-52 in losing 13 of 16 at Chase Field - a surprising slide for a club that won 21 of its final 25 home games last season.
Arizona tries to get back on track behind Trevor Cahill (2-4, 4.01), who gave up four earned runs for the fourth time in six starts during Thursday's 9-7 win at Colorado. The right-hander allowed five hits, three walks and struck out six over five innings.
In his lone appearance against the Dodgers, Cahill yielded two unearned runs, four hits and four walks over 5 1-3 innings of a 5-4 road victory June 17, 2009, while with Oakland.
Bobby Abreu is 3 for 21 (.143) lifetime against Cahill, though he's taken him deep once.
- Aaron Harang
- Arizona Diamondbacks
- Los Angeles Dodgers
- Los Angeles