The NL West leaders look to move one step closer to clinching a spot in the postseason in MLB betting action on Monday night when the Arizona Diamondbacks take on the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium.
This clash at Chavez Ravine will get started at 10:10 p.m. (ET) with live television coverage available on FOX Sports Arizona and FOX Sports Prime Ticket.
Going into play Sunday, Arizona had won 16 of its past 18 games to not just take control of the NL West, but to stretch its lead out to 9 ½-games. In this run of good fortune, the Diamondbacks are outscoring foes by 2.39 runs per game.
Manager Kirk Gibson and company are going to be scoreboard watching in addition to trying to take care of business on the diamond. The Diamondbacks are in a tremendous race with the Milwaukee Brewers to determine which team will get home field advantage and avoid having to play the Philadelphia Phillies in the first round of the playoffs.
As of Sunday, Arizona held a slender half-game edge over the Brewers.
With its magic number at just eight with Sunday's clash pending, Arizona will head into battle on Monday with Joe Saunders on the mound. Saunders is 10-12 on the season, making him the only Diamondback to have double digits in losses.
Part of his struggles have come due to a lack of control. The southpaw has already issued 64 walks this year, and he only has 98 strikeouts to offset the free passes.
Still, batters are only hitting .266 against Saunders this year, a respectable number considering how questionable the rest of his splits have been.
After a rough stretch in the middle of August, Saunders has recovered going 2-1 with a 3.93 ERA in his last three starts.
Historically, Saunders has pitched well here at Chavez Ravine, posting a 3.08 ERA in four starts, but he is only 1-3 to show for his work. He did pick up the win here on July 31 though, allowing just eight hits and two runs in 7 2/3-innings.
The Dodgers have quietly been one of the better second half teams in baseball this season, and manager Don Mattingly has them right at the .500 mark coming into Sunday. There is still a realistic chance to finish second in the NL West, something that would be quite an accomplishment for a team that was 12-games under .500 and in last place on August 20.
Part of the good fortune that Los Angeles has had over the past three weeks can be attributed to the pitching of Ted Lilly, the man on the mound Monday night. The journeyman has allowed just five earned runs in his last three starts combined in 17 2/3-innings of work. He is 2-0 in that stretch.
Lilly has faced Arizona a dozen times in his career, including 10 times as a starter. He has had a varying degree of success against the D-Backs, going 4-6 with a 4.52 ERA. However, Arizona is only hitting .224 against him in his career. The bugaboo has come with 14 home runs allowed, four of which came in his two starts against them this year.
Los Angeles has won eight of its last nine games at Dodger Stadium, but has lost both series here against Arizona this year. The Diamondbacks took two out of three in the series played in August and in May.
The road team has gone 7-5 in the 12 meetings this year, and the visitors have won three of the four series.
Expect a typical night in Tinseltown on Monday. Temperatures should drop into the low-60s with light winds out of the west.