Diamondbacks And Dodgers Duel In LA

By: Willie Bee | Thursday, August 30, 2012

Kirk Gibson and the Arizona Diamondbacks have reached the proverbial now-or-never point in the season as they continue a weekend series at the Los Angeles Dodgers.  The clubs continue their 4-game set Friday in the final contest on the evening's MLB betting card.

Aaron Harang will deliver the first pitch for the Dodgers at 10:10 p.m. (ET), while the Diamondbacks counter with Trevor Cahill in a rematch from a July 30 clash at Chavez Ravine.  Los Angeles was priced at -130 in the opening MLB odds and the 7½-run total carried a 20¢ tax for 'under' bettors.

Both clubs were trying to chase down the San Francisco Giants in the NL West when they began this series on Thursday.  The Dodgers trailed San Francisco by 3.5 games with the D-Backs 9.5 out of the lead in third.  Each team is also looking to move up in the National League wild card race that was paced by the Braves and Cardinals in the 1-2 slots entering Thursday.  Los Angeles was 1.5-games behind St. Louis with Arizona a distant 7.5 out of the picture.

Game 1 of the series was still pending and featured a marquee mound duel between Ian Kennedy and Clayton Kershaw.  The Dodgers were $2.00 favorites behind their reigning Cy Young winner and the 6½-run total was priced to the 'under.'

Arizona was mired in a 6-game losing streak as the series started, and scored just 27 runs in a 2-8 homestand that concluded with sweeps at the hands of the Padres and Reds.  The Diamondbacks will now spend the next 10 games away from Phoenix as treks to San Francisco and San Diego follow these four tilts in LA.

The good news is they bring a 6-game win streak against the Dodgers into the set, two of those dubyas provided by Cahill who has never lost a game to Los Angeles.   The California native will be looking for his first win since the July 30 matchup with Harang, and his third win over LA this season.  He beat the Dodgers in Arizona on July 7 and was in line for another victory over them at home in May before the bullpen coughed up a 6-1 lead.

All told, Cahill is 2-0 vs. Los Angeles this season with an impressive 2.37 ERA, and 3-0 lifetime with a tiny 1.85 ERA.

Harang will be out for his first home win since July 4, his four subsequent assignments at Dodger Stadium each going in the loss column for Los Angeles.  The Diamondbacks have pounded on him twice this year (9-1/3 IP, 12 ER), a bit out of character for Harang who still has a lifetime ERA vs. Arizona that is under 3.00 despite those two outings.

He allowed seven runs in his five frames during that July 30 matchup with Cahill who surrendered just one plate crossing in his six innings.  The D-Backs were small +105 underdogs for that game which went 'over' the 7½-run total.

Arizona's 6-win streak is part of an overall 8-4 mark against LA this season.  Three of the previous five games played at Dodger Stadium have failed to reach the scoreboard hurdle.

Bettors will want to keep an eye on the Don Best Pro Odds for injury updates as this series progresses.  Los Angeles is expected to be without closer Kenley Jansen for the entire weekend and possibly beyond as the fire-balling right-hander deals with a recurring heart condition.

The Dodgers are also expected to miss Matt Kemp in Thursday's opener after he collided with the fence at Coors Field on Tuesday.  The center fielder suffered a left knee bruise along with a sore jaw, but could be back in the lineup by Friday.

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