If the Los Angeles Dodgers are to end their recent rough stretch, they must find a way to achieve some rare success against the Arizona Diamondbacks this season.
Facing Trevor Cahill won't make things any easier.
The Dodgers look to avoid an eighth consecutive loss to the Diamondbacks on Friday night at Chavez Ravine.
Ian Kennedy and three relievers held Los Angeles (70-62) to five hits in a 2-0 win Thursday. The Dodgers, 2-4 since acquiring Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett, Nick Punto and the injured Carl Crawford from Boston, have dropped 4 1/2 games behind first-place San Francisco in the NL West.
"It's a loss that we really can't afford," said manager Don Mattingly, who called a postgame team meeting. "There's guys in that clubhouse I trust are going to get the job done. I continue to believe in these guys."
Losers in seven of 10 overall, the Dodgers are 1 1/2 games out of the final wild-card spot.
They've been outscored 38-11 during a seven-game skid versus Arizona (65-67), which has held them to five runs during its five-game winning streak at Dodger Stadium. The Diamondbacks, who snapped a six-game skid that concluded a 2-8 homestand, also can post three consecutive shutouts against the Dodgers for the time.
Los Angeles was stymied in the opener without star Matt Kemp, who could miss his third straight game with a shoulder injury. Kemp, 6 for 12 against the Diamondbacks this season, also is dealing with some swelling in his knee .
"I'm used to playing every day, so it's frustrating when I can't play," Kemp told the Dodgers' official website.
Regardless of their lineup, the Dodgers could face a stiff challenge against Cahill (9-11, 3.99 ERA), who is 3-0 with a 1.85 ERA in four starts against them. The right-hander, who allowed a run in six innings of a 7-2 win at Chavez Ravine on July 30, has yielded one earned run despite seven walks in 11 1-3 innings while going 2-0 at Dodger Stadium.
However, since that July victory at Los Angeles, Cahill is 0-2 with a 5.14 ERA in his last five starts. Two of those came on the road while posting a 2.77 ERA without a decision. His most recent outing was at home Sunday, when he gave up four runs, eight hits and three walks in 3 2-3 innings of a 5-4 loss to San Diego.
Chris Young's two-run, fourth-inning homer Thursday was the difference in the opener of a 10-game California trip for the Diamondbacks, whose five-game road winning streak is their longest since a seven-game run June 11-24, 2011.
"This is a huge road trip we have going on," Young said. "We have to put ourselves in better position to make a push (to the postseason)."
Young is 6 for 19 with three homers versus scheduled Los Angeles starter Aaron Harang (9-8, 3.70), who is 0-3 with a 6.75 ERA in his last four starts against the Diamondbacks. He's yielded 12 runs and 18 hits in 9 1-3 innings while going 0-1 in two versus Arizona in 2012. Harang allowed seven runs in five innings of that defeat to Cahill on July 30.
The right-hander had given up three runs while winning his previous two starts before he allowed three on two homers in 5 1-3 innings of a 6-2 loss to Miami on Sunday.