Dodgers-Diamondbacks Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated April 12, 2013
Clayton Kershaw now gets a chance to see if he can continue his early season success on the road. Kershaw faces a favorable matchup against an Arizona Diamondbacks team that has struggled against left-handers in Friday night's opener of a weekend series for the Los Angeles Dodgers, who arrive after learning a major cog in their rotation will be out for some time. Through two starts at home, Kershaw (2-0, 0.00 ERA) has yielded six hits while striking out 16 through 16 scoreless innings. He turned in seven innings of two-hit ball last Saturday with nine strikeouts in a 1-0 victory over Pittsburgh. "For me it just starts with throwing strikes," said Kershaw, who has thrown 114 of 191 pitches for strikes with just one walk. "Just keep pumping the strike zone and letting the defense work. That's kind of my mindset." The southpaw could be the last pitcher Arizona (6-3) wants to see at this time. The Diamondbacks are hitting .193 against left-handers, losing two of three games when opponents have started them. "We haven't been that good. We have some power from the left-hand side, it just tends to neutralize that a little more," manager Kirk Gibson told the team's official website. "But it's early in the season. There's really nothing to read into it at this point." Kershaw has a 1.81 ERA in his last 11 starts against the Diamondbacks, striking out 82 in 69 2-3 innings, though he did lose his final three outings against them in 2012. Paul Goldschmidt is 1 for 11 against Kershaw, Miguel Montero 4 for 20 with nine strikeouts and Jason Kubel 1 for 8. That trio has combined for 21 RBIs in 2013, including five by Kubel in the last three games while going 5 for 13 with two homers. Kershaw had a 3.24 ERA on the road last season compared to 2.05 at home. There could be more pressure on him now to lead the Dodgers rotation. Los Angeles (6-3) learned that right-hander Zack Greinke suffered a broken left collarbone after being involved in a bench-clearing brawl in Thursday's 3-2 victory at San Diego. Greinke plunked Carlos Quentin, who rushed the mound and wrestled him to the ground in the sixth inning. The Dodgers starter lowered his left shoulder into the onrushing Padres outfielder, and the consequences were steep. There is no timetable for Greinke at this point. Los Angeles manager Don Mattingly blamed Quentin for the incident, saying he has "zero understanding of the game of baseball." "He should not play a game until Greinke can pitch," said Mattingly about Quentin. "If he plays a game before Greinke pitches, something's wrong." Matt Kemp and Jerry Hairston Jr., who did not play Thursday, were the Dodgers ejected in the aftermath of the brawl. Los Angeles will have to move on and face Arizona left-hander Patrick Corbin (1-0, 3.00), who went 1-1 with a 1.59 ERA in two starts against the Dodgers as a rookie last year. Corbin had a strong season debut Saturday, yielding two runs over six innings in a 9-2 victory at Milwaukee. The Diamondbacks salvaged the finale of a three-game set with Pittsburgh on Wednesday with a 10-2 rout. A.J. Pollock had two homers and four RBIs. Second baseman Aaron Hill sat out after being hit in the left hand by a pitch the previous night, but expects to play Friday. Dodgers slugger Adrian Gonzalez, who hit .154 against Arizona last year, is 11 for 24 with eight RBIs over the past six games and hit his first homer of the season Thursday.
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