Baseball / Sports

Dodgers continue mastery of Diamondbacks

PHOENIX -- The Washington Generals could sympathize.

The Dodgers' dominance of their globe-trotting partners, the Arizona Diamondbacks, has spanned two continents and nine games now after a 7-0 walkover at Chase Field on Friday night.

The Dodgers have beaten the Diamondbacks in eight of those nine meetings this season and have outscored them, 53-28.

"I think the main thing is our team has done better this year in general," Dodgers right-hander Zack Greinke said, straining more in trying to explain the Dodgers' advantage without embarrassing the 16-28 Diamondbacks than he strained to throw eight scoreless innings Friday. "They've struggled a bit. I'm sure they'll get hot sometime this year and the matchup could even out."

The Diamondbacks have only 10 more of those matchups to even it up. The Dodgers, meanwhile, have 41/2 months to figure out how to be the team they are when playing the Diamondbacks � when they're not playing the Diamondbacks.

Against the Diamondbacks, the Dodgers have averaged 5.89 runs per game with 31/2 extra-base hits per game and a .272 batting average with runners in scoring position. Against anyone else, they are averaging 3.79 runs per game, batting .250 with runners in scoring position � and have a losing record (15-19).

"No � it frustrates me when we don't play well any time," Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said when asked if it frustrates him that the Dodgers haven't spread their game around a little more. "Some teams you hit well against as a player. Some teams you pitch well against. This is one of those teams we've played well against this year. I hope that continues."

Scott Van Slyke certainly has his favorites. He had a double and a home run off Diamondbacks starter Wade Miley and is 6 for 9 with three doubles and three home runs off Miley this season.

Yasiel Puig has been playing no favorites recently. He had three hits including a solo home run and an RBI double. That extended his hitting streak to 15 games with an extra-base hit and an RBI in the past seven of those games.

Puig is batting .426 (26 for 61) with 11 runs scored and 19 driven in during the streak.


Brian Wilson might be learning that all outs are not created equal.

When the eccentric reliever re-signed with the Dodgers last winter, it was with the clear understanding that he would be a setup man and not in the closer role he had filled for four seasons with the San Francisco Giants. No problem, Wilson said in spring training � "At the end of the day, it's about contributing and whether you get an out in the fifth inning or the seventh inning or the ninth inning it's all the same."

Maybe not.

Wilson has not been the same guy who returned from Tommy John surgery last August (his second ligament-replacement procedure). Pitching to establish his health and earn a contract for 2014 (and beyond), Wilson was nearly impeccable in 18 regular-season appearances and six more in the postseason � all as a setup man to closer Kenley Jansen.

After another unimpressive inning during Wednesday's blowout loss, Dodgers manager Don Mattingly admitted he was "concerned" about Wilson's uneven performance this season and his fluctuating velocity. Mattingly called Wilson "a high-adrenaline guy" who doesn't seem to throw with the same intensity when the stakes aren't as high as protecting a ninth-inning lead.

Wilson admits now he has "probably" found it harder to adapt to a less prominent role in the bullpen than he expected. Asked for a word to describe the experience this season, he offers, "Trying."

Wilson said he was trying to work through it by throwing "a 35-pitch, max-effort bullpen" session before Wednesday's game, a possible explanation for the mid-80s radar gun readings when he pitched that night.

"Just getting my work in," Wilson said of pitching in the 13-3 loss. "I hadn't gone out and pitched the way I wanted in awhile."

It has been awhile. Wilson has given up hits in six of his past seven appearances, baserunners in all seven and runs in three of them. In his first 16 appearances this season before pitching a scoreless ninth Friday night, he had a 10.22 ERA, a 2.43 WHIP and opposing batters are hitting a robust .327 against him with 12 walks and three home runs in 12 1/3 innings.

"Last year it just seemed like it was clean-clean-clean," Mattingly said. "This year, it just hasn't been the same yet. I really believe it's going to get there. At this point it's not. It seems like we're using a lot of pitches to get through an inning. It always seems like we get the bases loaded and he's just one pitch away."

Wilson dismisses the ugly statistics that have defined his season so far. But he gives another hint to his discomfort with a diminished role in his answer.

"I've got one blown save, one loss in a tie ballgame and the rest are just who-cares type of innings. So why should it (the statistics) matter?" he said. "I'm giving up runs, and we're still winning or I'm giving up runs, and we're still losing (those games). It's not like I'm out there blowing leads and stuff.

"I guess this is making up for all those zeroes I put up in these innings before. It all evens out."


Left-hander Hyun-Jin Ryu threw 75 pitches in a simulated game at Camelback Ranch. The workout "went really well," according to Mattingly.

The session was probably the final hurdle for Ryu before his activation from the DL and return to the rotation next week. Left-hander Paul Maholm's spot comes up in the rotation again Wednesday in New York, but an off-day Monday would allow the Dodgers to slot Ryu anywhere they want next week.

"Let's wait until tomorrow," Mattingly said. "But we feel pretty confident he's going to feel good tomorrow. ... Everybody liked the way he threw the ball today.

"We'll just cross this bridge tomorrow and go from there."

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