The Dodgers are 3-1 against left-handed starters this season, but their exposure to southpaws has been limited to far. They have faced only two different left-handed starters in their first 16 games, and one day after beating Madison Bumgarner the Dodgers see Wade Miley and the Diamondbacks for a third time in 2014.
But even though the Dodgers have won three of four games they have struggled at the plate against lefties.
The team is hitting just .223/.281/.365 against southpaws this season, 17th in MLB in OPS against left-handers, 20th in batting average, 27th in on-base percentage, and 16th in slugging percentage.
Once you strip away the relative success against Bumgarner (.311/.367/.422) and Miley (.262/.340/.500), the true culprit is revealed. The Dodgers are just 8-for-61 (.131) with 17 strikeouts against southpaw relief pitchers this season.
The one home run hit by a Dodger against a left-handed reliever was hit against David Huff on April 6 by Hanley Ramirez, who is questionable after getting hit by a pitch on his left hand on Wednesday night.
The Diamondbacks have three southpaw relief pitchers on their staff — Oliver Perez, Ryan Rowland-Smith and Joe Thatcher — but that could change because Arizona is expected to trim down from 13 pitchers to 12 on Friday with the expected activation of Cody Ross from the disabled list, per Steve Gilbert of MLB.com.
But before having to face those relievers the Dodgers get another shot at Miley, whom they have beaten twice already this season. The Dodgers scored three runs in five innings on Opening Day in Sydney against Miley, then scored five runs in five innings last Saturday in Phoenix.
Scott Van Slyke is 4-for-11 with two home runs and two doubles against Miley, and in his first three plate appearances against him this year Van Slyke hit a home run and two doubles off the wall. Matt Kemp is 5-for-15 (.333) with two home runs against Miley, and Adrian Gonzalez is 4-for-13 (.308) with a home run and two doubles. Ramirez is 5-for-17 (.294) with a home run and a double.
Zack Greinke gets the start for the Dodgers, looking for his fourth win as many outings in 2014.
Before joining the Dodgers, Greinke was 0-3 with a 7.90 ERA in five starts against the Diamondbacks, and Arizona won all five starts.
Since signing with Los Angeles, Greinke is 3-0 with a 1.78 ERA in four starts against Arizona with 25 strikeouts in 25⅓ innings, and the Dodgers are 4-0.
- Gonzalez carries a 12-game hitting streak into Friday's game, hitting .340/.377/.740 during the streak.
- Ramirez has reached base in 11 straight games, hitting .357/.449/.667 during that span.
- Kemp, a career .338/.400/.563 hitter against left-handers, is 0-for-12 with four strikeouts against southpaws this season.
- Greinke, with 21 strikeouts and two walks, has the seventh-best strikeout-to-walk ratio in MLB this season, and has 17 strikeouts since his last walk.
- Friday is the start of a 10-game homestands, one of two homestands that long this season (they are back home from May 26 to June 4). In 2013 the Dodgers had one 10-game homestand (June 3-12) and were 5-5.
Time: 7:10 p.m. PT
TV: SportsNet LA