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National League Preview from The Sports Network
Monday, May 14th (All times Eastern)
Arizona Diamondbacks (15-20) at Los Angeles Dodgers (23-11), 10:10 p.m.
Probable Starting Pitchers: Arizona - Ian Kennedy (3-2, 3.91) Los Angeles - Clayton Kershaw (2-1, 2.56)
(Sports Network) - Los Angeles Dodgers center fielder Matt Kemp knocked the cover off baseballs during April, but is coming up small so far May. A left hamstring injury won't help LA's slugger any time soon either.
Kemp is due for an MRI on his left leg and the Dodgers have no choice but to move on with or without their All-Star when they resume an eight-game homestand Monday in the opener of a quick two-game set versus the Arizona Diamondbacks. Kemp left Sunday's 11-5 win over Colorado after the third inning because of the problem and originally sustained the injury last weekend against the Chicago Cubs.
The Dodgers will most likely give Kemp the day off Monday. Kemp also stated that he doesn't feel a stint on the disabled list is necessary, and has played in 399 consecutive contests.
"The team needs me. I don't think this is a 15-day thing," he told the club's official website. "I think this is maybe one, two, three days. It's not something that I need to go on the DL for."
Kemp is only one of four players in MLB history to finish April with at least a .400 batting average, 10 or more home runs and more than 20 RBIs. The others were Barry Bonds (2004), Larry Walker (1997) and Tony Perez (1970). Kemp was 0-for-2 at the plate in Sunday's win versus the Rockies, while A.J. Ellis homered and finished with four RBI. Bobby Abreu knocked in three runs for the NL West-leading Dodgers, who have won four straight and are 5-1 so far on the homestand. Starting pitcher Ted Lilly improved to 5-0 despite allowing five runs -- four earned -- in 6 1/3 innings. He gave up three in the first inning.
"Going into the first inning, I felt good. I was pretty confident we were going to come back and score runs," Lilly said. "I enjoyed the way we swung the bats. We're just doing things necessary to win games."
Getting the call for Los Angeles tonight will be reigning NL Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw. The left-hander suffered his first loss of the season the last time out in a 2-1 setback to San Francisco, as he was reached for both runs and five hits in a season high-tying eight innings. Kershaw struck out seven batters and fell to 2-1 with a 2.56 ERA in seven starts.
The Dodgers have lost Kershaw's last two starts after winning his first five and should have a good feeling about tonight's showdown. Kershaw is 6-2 with a 2.15 ERA in 10 career starts against the Diamondbacks.
Arizona will hit the road for seven games against the Dodgers, Rockies and Royals, and completed a six-game homestand with a 1-5 mark. In Sunday's 7-3 loss to San Francisco in the finale of a three-game series, D'Backs starter Joe Saunders continued his recent struggles and was banged around for six runs and 10 hits in five innings.
Jason Kubel highlighted the offense with three hits and two RBI, while Ryan Roberts scored twice and A.J. Pollock knocked in a run for the Diamondbacks, who have lost nine of their last 11 games.
"It was a tough week, a tough homestand," said Arizona manager Kirk Gibson. "We didn't play well. We didn't have very good execution, anywhere, again."
Gibson will hand the ball to staff ace Ian Kennedy tonight, but he is going through his own struggles on the mound. Kennedy, who tied Kershaw last season for the NL lead in wins with 21, has dropped back-to-back starts and the D;Backs are winless in his previous three outings. Kennedy had his worst start of 2012 in last Tuesday's 6-1 loss to St. Louis and permitted a season high six runs in seven innings.
Kennedy is 3-2 with a 3.91 ERA in seven starts this season. The righty, who went 3-0 with a 3.46 ERA in four starts against Los Angeles last season, is 3-1 with a lofty 4.75 ERA in five career starts in this series.
Arizona and LA are meeting for the first time since the D'Backs won 10 of the 18 matchups a year ago.
05/14 10:48:55 ET
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