The Dodgers have dropped four of Hiroki Kuroda’s last five starts in Phoenix.
The Arizona Diamondbacks have already clinched the National League West Division, but remain focused on gaining home-field advantage in the NL Divisional round if they can catch the Milwaukee Brewers, who hold a one-game advantage.
Tuesday night's first pitch against the Los Angeles Dodgers inside raucous Chase Field is scheduled for 9:40 (ET).
Arizona entered this series off a three-game sweep of the San Francisco Giants, boosting its record to 42-27 versus the division. The club is in the final stretch of playing 28 of its final 31 games against such opponents, producing an 19-6 mark thus far.
The Diamondbacks hold a 9-6 series advantage over the Dodgers coming into the final three meetings of the season, including an even 3-3 mark at tonight’s venue.
Success since the All-Star break has directly led to the team’s run to the division title. The Diamondbacks lead all major league teams with 27 home wins since that point. Arizona is also one of three teams in the league that is undefeated when leading after eight innings, posting an 84-0 record, joined by the Boston Red Sox (75-0) and Detroit Tigers (79-0).
Outfielder Justin Upton could miss some time in the final games of the regular season after getting hit in the helmet by San Francisco’s hard-throwing Tim Lincecum on Sunday. Upton is listed as day-to-day.
Jarrod Parker is expected to make his first MLB start in this contest. The ninth overall pick of the 2007 draft underwent Tommy John surgery in 2009 and missed the entire 2010 season. It’s expected that he will be a serious candidate to join the starting rotation during the 2011 campaign.
Parker tallied an 11-8 record and 3.79 ERA at Double-A Mobile this year, helping to lead the squad to the Southern League championship.
Bettors will find that the Diamondbacks are 35-17 at home versus right-handed starters.
Los Angeles has plenty to play for in trying to end the season with a record above .500. The team has won seven of its last nine games and has gone 43-27 since July 7.
Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp is also getting plenty of media attention as he makes a run at the NL MVP award, while also staying in the conversation of possibly winning the Triple Crown. The All-Star entered the series tied with St. Louis Cardinals first baseman Albert Pujols with 37 home runs, leading the league RBIs, while sitting seven points behind Milwaukee’s Ryan Braun with a .324 batting average.
Hiroki Kuroda (13-16, 3.17 ERA) will make his 32nd start of the season, coming in off two consecutive home wins over the Pittsburgh Pirates and San Francisco Giants. He allowed four runs (three earned) and 10 hits over 13 innings over that span.
The right-hander has registered an even 7-7 mark and 3.05 ERA in 14 road starts, issuing 25 free passes and compiling 75 strikeouts.
Los Angeles is 1-4 in Kuroda’s last five road starts versus the Diamondbacks, while the ‘under’ is 4-1 in the last five meetings overall in the desert.
With temperatures still reaching the century mark in Phoenix, the roof is likely to be closed at Chase Field for the entire series.