When the Dodgers lost two of three in Arizona three weeks ago, the perception was LA succumbed to a lowly opponent. After all, when the Dodgers captured the series opener, the Diamondbacks were 6-11, after a 110-loss season that included a 5-40 stretch that made even this year’s Reds blush.
But Arizona took the next two games of that series against the Dodgers, and come to Los Angeles with an 18-17 record.
All five teams in the National League West are at .500 or better. Only three such NL teams exist outside the division (Brewers, Mets, Cardinals), and the entire American League only has six teams without a losing record.
NL West teams are 29-15 against the NL Central this season, 30-27 against the NL East, and 15-7 in interleague play. That’s a .602 winning percentage outside the division.
Whether the D-backs keep this up remains to be seen, as they have been outscored by 15 runs this season. The rotation has been the key for Arizona this season under new pitching coach Brent Strom, with a 2.51 ERA that ranks second in the majors, behind only the Dodgers at 2.45. D-backs starters rank eighth in FIP (3.53), just ahead of Los Angeles (3.56).
Madison Bumgarner has gotten the results so far, allowing only nine runs in his seven starts, with his only adversity faced coming at the literal hands of umpire and staring contest champion Dan Bellino.
Bumgarner takes his 1.78 ERA (and 3.81 xERA) into Monday night’s series opener, in increasingly familiar territory. Monday is Bumgarner’s 23rd career start in Los Angeles, which ties him with Steve Carlton and Rick Reuschel for fifth-most by an opponent at Dodger Stadium. The only pitchers with more road starts at Chavez Ravine are Phil Niekro (33 starts), Juan Marichal (28), Tom Glavine (25), and Tom Seaver (24).
Tony Gonsolin starts for the Dodgers, on five days rest.
- Teams: Dodgers (21-12) vs. D-backs (18-17)
- Pitchers: Tony Gonsolin vs. Madison Bumgarner
- Location: Dodger Stadium
- Time: 7:10 p.m. PT
- TV: SportsNet LA