If Trevor Cahill is to continue his success against the Los Angeles Dodgers, he likely must pitch better than he has in his first two starts of 2013.
The Arizona Diamondbacks right-hander looks to remain perfect against the Dodgers as he takes the mound in Sunday's decisive series finale.
Cahill (0-2, 5.91 ERA) is 4-0 with a 2.43 ERA in six starts versus Los Angeles (7-4). Five of those outings came last season, including three at Chase Field as he allowed six runs and struck out 19 in 20 innings.
However, Cahill has not looked sharp while failing to complete six innings in either of his starts this month. He allowed four runs and walked three in five innings of a 5-3 loss to Pittsburgh on Monday.
"The whole game I think I was trying to find my arm slot, I felt like I couldn't control my fastball," Cahill told the Diamondbacks' official website. "I felt fine, I just didn't know where it was going."
Adrian Gonzalez has struck out in five of his nine at-bats against Cahill, but he went 3 for 4 with a homer and two RBIs on Saturday as the Dodgers snapped a six-game skid at Arizona (7-4) with a 7-5 win.
Gonzalez is batting .452 with two homers and 10 RBIs in eight games since opening the season 1 for 9.
Carl Crawford added two hits for the Dodgers, who have won six of eight, and is among the NL leaders with a .410 average.
Teammate Matt Kemp, who had two RBIs on Saturday, has hit safely in six straight games to raise his average from .056 to .190. He's 3 for 9 versus Cahill.
Scheduled Los Angeles starter Josh Beckett (0-1, 4.91) hopes to keep the ball in the park after five of the eight runs he's allowed this season came off four homers. He gave up three runs and six hits, including two long balls, over 84 pitches in five innings while not factoring in the decision of a 9-3 loss at San Diego on Tuesday.
"Josh will be around the plate and he'll give up his share of hits, but he's got to keep himself in the game," manager Don Mattingly told the Dodgers' official website. "He had a lot of pitches to that point. He'll be more efficient than that as time goes on.
"He's not the same guy he was before. He has to use more pitches to get through the innings."
In Beckett's only start against the Diamondbacks since 2008, the right-hander allowed a homer and five other hits over 6 2-3 innings while striking out nine in Los Angeles' 2-1 win Sept. 1. That's one of two games he's won in his last 15 starts.
Arizona's Aaron Hill is batting .405 (15 for 37) with seven doubles and a homer against Beckett. The veteran second baseman overcame a bruised hand to deliver an RBI double in the eighth inning to get the Diamondbacks within a run Saturday.
While Hill might be healthy enough to start for the first time in four games, Arizona placed slugger Jason Kubel on the disabled list Saturday with a strained left quad.
That could open the door for the Arizona debut of outfielder Cody Ross, who began the season on the DL with a calf strain.