NL West Matchup


The Los Angeles Dodgers' payroll is nearly twice that of the NL West-leading Arizona Diamondbacks, but thanks to a hit-or-miss offense, the Dodgers already have twice as many losses as Arizona.

They'll try to get closer by completing a two-game home sweep of the Diamondbacks on Thursday, as Los Angeles starter Chad Billingsley looks for his first win of the year.

Oddsmakers from have made Los Angeles -128 money line favorites (MLB Odds) for tonight's game, the over/under has been set at 8.5 total runs (Matchup). Current public betting information shows that 50% of bets for this game have been placed on Los Angeles -128 (View MLB Bet Percentages). Bet this game.

Despite the Dodgers' $118 million payroll - which is well above the $66 million the Diamondbacks are spending - Los Angeles (9-12) has matched its worst 21-game start since 1993 under new manager Joe Torre.

In their last eight games, the Dodgers have scored exactly one run four times and eight or more runs four times, going 4-4. Already trailing the Diamondbacks by seven games, they came up with a 13-hit outburst in Wednesday's 8-3 win.

"We understand that we really needed to turn this thing around," Dodgers starter Derek Lowe said. "I know it's early, but if you're seven games back and you lose the next two days, you're looking at a nine-game deficit. And that's really hard to come back from. So we realized the importance of these games."

The Dodgers had already been swept in three games in Phoenix earlier this month, but they handed Arizona's Dan Haren his first loss on Wednesday, knocking him out in just 4 2-3 innings with nine hits and five earned runs.

Before Wednesday's loss, Arizona had taken six of seven and nine of 12 against Los Angeles.

"We came out there with the belief that we can play with those guys, and we showed it tonight," said Los Angeles' James Loney, who had two RBI singles. "No matter who's on the mound, you have to believe in yourself."

The Diamondbacks (15-6) ended a run of 17 straight games with at least four runs on Wednesday, and Billingsley (0-3, 6.14 ERA) will try to again hold them down. The 23-year-old right-hander came into the season with high expectations, but has dropped his first three starts.

He threw four shutout innings against Atlanta last Saturday, but he ran into trouble in the fifth, walking three and allowing four runs. He still matched a career high with nine strikeouts.

"For four innings, it was lights-out," Dodgers catcher Gary Bennett told the team's official Web site. "Then Chad started to jump at me. He got out of whack and was fighting himself."

Billingsley failed to complete three innings at Arizona on April 8, allowing five runs - four earned - on five hits in a 10-5 loss. But he's also been the victim of poor run support, as the Dodgers have scored just one total run while he's been pitching this year.

"We've put, in a lot of games, pressure on our pitchers because we haven't scored runs on a regular basis," Torre said.

Edgar Gonzalez (0-1, 4.50) will pitch for Arizona. The right-hander has thrown just 14 innings in three starts, but he completed six last Saturday against San Diego, allowing three runs on four hits, walking four and giving up two home runs.

"He just made a couple mistakes, and they got him," Diamondbacks manager Bob Melvin said. "All said and done, it's a pretty credible outing."

Gonzalez is just 1-4 with an 8.48 ERA in seven career appearances, including six starts, against the Dodgers.

After Thursday's game, the teams don't meet again until after the All-Star break.


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