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Series Preview #48, @ Los Angeles Dodgers

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After salvaging a split in San Diego, Arizona takes a trip down the freeway to face their NL West rivals, the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Kent Horner

BREAKING: According to Nick Piecoro of The Arizona Republic, sources said that the Arizona Diamondbacks fired general manager Kevin Towers late Thursday night. There is no word on the status of manager Kirk Gibson, Piecoro said.

What's New?

Arizona comes to 'Hollywood' after managing to get a split in their four-game set against the Padres, taking the final two games. In Monday's opener, Trevor Cahill struggled with his command in dishing out six walks over four innings, including giving up the go-ahead runs in what would be a 3-1 San Diego victory. Wade Miley put up a great start on Tuesday night in giving up just a run over seven innings, but saw Arizona pick up the 2-1 loss after Brad Ziegler surrendered a pinch-hit walk-off home run to Cory Spangenberg. Wednesday night saw the return of right hander Daniel Hudson to the major leagues after a two-year absence, as his perfect eighth inning helped Arizona in their 6-1 win. Arizona jumped on Ian Kennedy for four early runs on Thursday, and saw a strong return to the rotation from Randall Delgado (five innings, two hits, no runs) in a 5-1 win. Arizona has won two in a row and four of their last ten, boosting their road record to 30-38 on the season. They are 59-81 overall, 19 games behind Los Angeles for first place in the NL West. They are 7.5 games behind the Padres for third place.

The Diamondbacks continue to be no juggernaut with a bat in their hand, ranking 28th in wRC+ (85) and 25th in offensive WAR (10.5), batting .248/.304/.380 with a .302 wOBA. They aren't the most aggressive when it comes to trying to manufacture runs either, ranking just 21st in the majors in stolen bases (71) and 15th in wSB (-0.1). Their pitching staff hasn't picked up the pace either, ranking 25th in team ERA (4.15), 19th in FIP (3.86), and are 25th in pitching WAR (9.4). However, when looking at SIERA (Skill-Interactive ERA), there may be an argument that Arizona's struggles can be attributed to luck, as they rank ninth at 3.54.

The Dodgers' offense, on the other hand, is on par with the league's best with the fifth-best wRC+ (105) and third-best offensive WAR (22.8). They are batting .259/.328/.392 with a .319 wOBA. They have a valuable offense according to wRAA (Weighted Runs Above Average), ranking seventh in the majors at 30.5. Los Angeles' pitching staff has been stellar as well, ranking sixth in team ERA (3.31), sixth in FIP (3.49), and 13th in pitching WAR (12.8). They are statistically the best team in baseball in SIERA, posting a mark of 3.32.

Los Angeles is currently in the midst of a nine-game home stand, and are coming off of taking just one of three games from the Washington Nationals. They've split their last ten games overall, and are just 35-34 at home this season. They are 78-62 overall, two games ahead of the Giants for first place in the NL West.

On The Mend

Arizona right hander Brad Ziegler is expected to go to Los Angeles at some point this week for a second opinion on his left knee, according to Nick Piecoro of AZCentral.com. The first opinion showed that Ziegler may need surgery, and he is officially listed as day-to-day.

According to Steve Dilbeck of the Los Angeles Times, Dodgers right hander Josh Beckett is likely done for the season with a hip injury.

Roster Moves

In addition to activating left fielder Cody Ross and right hander Daniel Hudson, on Tuesday the Diamondbacks activated shortstop Chris Owings and center fielder A.J. Pollock.

On Monday and Tuesday, the Dodgers recalled/activated the following players: right hander Chris Perez, right hander Yimi Garcia, second baseman Alex Guerrero, catcher Tim Federowicz, center fielder Joc Pederson, shortstop Miguel Rojas, right hander Carlos Frias, and shortstop Erisbel Arruebarrena.

The Legend Continues

Dodgers fan or not, it is unquestionable that play-by-play man Vin Scully is one of the most recognizable voices in baseball. Since 1951 he has been calling Dodger games (in Brooklyn AND Los Angeles), and baseball fans were given the privilege of hearing him another year after Scully announced earlier this year that he is returning to the booth for the 2015 season earlier this year.

This week, more news was given on Scully's return, as it appears that a variety of factors have led to Scully cutting his workload by as much as 25%, including working only Dodgers home games. In recent years, Scully has worked Dodger home games, along with games on the west coast.

Pitching Matchups

Game 1, Friday 7:10 PT: LHP Vidal Nuno (2-9, 4.46 ERA, 4.52 FIP) vs. RHP Dan Haren (11-10, 4.27 ERA, 4.37 FIP)

Nuno had the best start of his career in his last start, surrendering just a run on two hits over eight innings against the Rockies in a 2-0 loss. He has yet to pick up a win in a D-Backs uniform, as the team is just 1-9 in games that he has started this season. Haren has pitched well lately, giving up just a run over his last two starts (13 innings ) and giving up a total of eight hits. He is 5-4 with a 3.99 ERA in 12 home starts this season, and faces his former team after seeing an extra day of rest.

Game 2, Saturday 6:10 PT: RHP Chase Anderson (8-6, 3.75 ERA, 4.30 FIP) vs. RHP Zack Greinke (13-8, 2.72 ERA, 3.07 FIP)

Anderson got back on the winning track against the Rockies, giving up just a run over six innings in picking up his first win since August 8th. He is just 2-3 with a 4.37 ERA in seven road starts this season. Greinke was lights-out the last time he was on the hill, striking out eight and giving up just a run over eight innings against the Padres. He is 4-3 with a 4.05 ERA lifetime (11 starts) against the Diamondbacks.

Game 3, Sunday 1:10 PT: RHP Trevor Cahill (3-10, 5.06 ERA, 3.78 FIP) vs. LHP Hyun-Jin Ryu (14-6, 3.18 ERA, 2.68 FIP)

After hitting his stride in mid-August, Cahill has fallen off the rails with his command in his last two outings. He gave up six walks and lasted just four innings in a loss to the Padres in his last start, and has a 3.74 ERA outside of Chase Field this season. Ryu was stellar in his first start off the disabled list, giving up just a run over seven innings in a win over the Padres. He's 4-3 with a 3.94 ERA in ten home starts in 2014.

Series Pick'em

Arizona's lucky to avoid Kershaw in this series, but face a motivated Dodgers squad that is coming down the home stretch, and I don't expect them to do better than taking one of three here. I think Nuno is destined for a win at some point this season, and this may be the point. Otherwise, I could see Arizona picking up the win if Anderson puts up a decent match against Greinke on Saturday night.