Dodgers-Diamondbacks Preview

The Associated Press

Matt Kemp and the Los Angeles Dodgers are struggling at the plate, and not surprisingly, wins have become very hard to come by.

The Dodgers look to avoid being shut out in three consecutive games for the second time this season when they finish a two-game road set against the Arizona Diamondbacks on Wednesday night.

In a major slump over the last three weeks, Los Angeles has faded in the NL West race, falling a season-high six games behind San Francisco after a 1-0 loss Tuesday.

Ian Kennedy pitched into the eighth and Arizona scored an unearned run off Clayton Kershaw in the seventh when Paul Goldschmidt reached on Hanley Ramirez's throwing error and scored from first on Miguel Montero's double.

The Dodgers, who had five hits for the second straight game, have lost 13 of 20. They've scored three runs or fewer in 13 of those games while being held scoreless four times during that span. They lost 4-0 to San Francisco on Sunday.

"They all hurt the same right now,'' Kershaw said. "It is kind of the card that we are dealt right now. We are searching for answers. If we could explain it, we would, but we don't know. We just have to keep grinding. I know it is all cliché but we have to keep going, just keep playing and see what happens."

Getting Kemp back on track would help. He returned to the lineup Tuesday after missing the previous two games with an inflamed left shoulder and went 1 for 3 with two strikeouts.

Kemp's batting average has dropped 44 points to .315 after going 14 for 79 (.177) over his last 21 games. He is 4 for 33 with 11 strikeouts since crashing into the outfield wall in Colorado on Aug. 28.

Los Angeles (74-68), which remained one game behind St. Louis for the second NL wild-card spot, was also shut out in three consecutive games in June by the Giants.

Arizona (70-72), which is five out in the wild card, has won four of six. Tuesday's victory snapped a six-game home losing streak for the Diamondbacks, winners of four in a row at home over the Dodgers.

While Arizona hasn't been playing well at home recently, struggles at Chase Field are nothing new for Trevor Cahill (10-11, 3.98 ERA), who has some baffling home/away splits.

Cahill is 4-7 with a 5.33 ERA at home compared to 6-4 with a 2.91 ERA on the road. He gave up two runs and two hits in 6 1-3 innings of a 6-2 victory at San Francisco last Wednesday, taking a no-hitter into the seventh.

"I felt good early on and I just tried to throw strikes, and the defense was good behind me so I tried to let them put it in play," the right-hander said.

Cahill is 2-0 with a 2.92 ERA in four starts against the Dodgers this year, although his last outing against them wasn't his strongest. He allowed three runs in 5 2-3 innings of a 4-3 win in 11 innings opposite Aaron Harang on Aug. 31.

He'll be matched up again with Harang (9-8, 3.75) in the finale.

The right-hander went five innings last Wednesday against San Diego, allowing three runs and seven hits in the 4-3 loss. He threw 61 pitches in the first two innings.

"With that long first inning throwing a lot of pitches, that ultimately hurt me in going out there for a sixth inning," Harang said.

He is 0-1 with a 9.42 ERA in three starts against Arizona this year, with the Dodgers scoring two runs in those games.

Montero is 9 for 17 (.529) with a home run off Harang.

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