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Kershaw, Dodgers hope to reverse fortunes vs. Diamondbacks
Sunday, April 15, 2018
Latest Line: Arizona +185 O/U: 6.5
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LOS ANGELES -- The Los Angeles Dodgers' offense will get a fourth chance to lend a show of support to staff ace Clayton Kershaw.

The dominating left-hander is an uncharacteristic 0-2 with a no-decision after three starts in 2018, although he has most certainly done his part with a 1.89 ERA into Sunday's start against the Arizona Diamondbacks.

One of those solid Kershaw starts was at Arizona on April 3, and a familiar Dodgers theme for 2018 surfaced. Kershaw pitched well, allowing two earned runs over six innings, but a lack of run support ended in a 6-1 Dodgers defeat.

The Dodgers are among the NL's least productive offenses with 47 runs and a .238 average after Saturday's 9-1 loss.

A lackluster offense is a major reason the Dodgers have opened the season 4-9, with five of those defeats coming in succession to the Diamondbacks. In fact, the Dodgers will carry an 11-game regular-season losing streak against Arizona into Sunday and it is the longest losing streak against any opponent since the team moved to Los Angeles following the 1957 season.

Scoring runs has not been an issue for the Diamondbacks, who have won five straight series against the Dodgers for the first time in team history. At 11-3, Arizona is off to the best start in team history

Arizona is among the most productive teams in the NL with 75 runs scored after homers by Paul Goldschmidt and Alex Avila along with two by A.J. Pollock helped them get another win over the Dodgers.

Goldschmidt has homered in three of his last four games and has 11 hits in his last 34 at-bats (.324).

Left-handed opposing starters have also not been an issue for the Diamondbacks, creating a further challenge for Kershaw. Arizona is on a nine-game win streak when the opponent starts a lefty, a run that goes back to Sept. 26, 2017.

When the Diamondbacks got the best of the Dodgers during Kershaw's April 3 start in the desert, it clinched the second of their five series victories already this season. They already clinched the current series with victories Friday and Saturday.

The Diamondbacks have shown in the early going an ability to operate in tight quarters. Six of their first 13 games were decided by one run, and two more were decided by two runs.

"We need to be battled tested for those types of moments and weather those types of storms," Arizona manager Torey Lovullo told reporters after Friday's victory in Los Angeles. "When you can stop (the opponents') momentum, get the job done and win the game, it's pretty powerful."

Zack Godley will take the mound for the Diamondbacks on Sunday, marking the second time he has faced Kershaw after also pitching in that April 3 game at Arizona.

In two starts so far, Godley has been exceptional, going 2-0 with a 0.64 ERA. He outdueled Kershaw at Arizona by giving up one run on four hits over seven innings.

The Diamondbacks' 11-game regular-season win streak over the Dodgers is their second longest in franchise history. They have a 16-game win streak over the Reds from 2001-03. The 11-game win streak is also the longest all-time between the Diamondbacks and Dodgers.

The Dodgers are just 4-9 and have not won a series in five tries, including two against the Diamondbacks and two against the Giants. It is their worst 13-game start since 1994.

"It's not ideal, it's not what we expected, but we're playing some good teams," Dodgers manager Dave Roberts told reporters. "We're just not synched up, whether it's the pitching and the hitting is not there one day, or vice versa."