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Diamondbacks aim to finish NLDS sweep of Dodgers

Unstoppable in the postseason so far, the Arizona Diamondbacks take their playoff act home Wednesday for the first time after four consecutive October victories.

The Diamondbacks carry a commanding 2-0 lead into Game 3 of the best-of-five National League Division Series while putting the Los Angeles Dodgers on the brink of elimination.

Arizona needs to win just one of the next three games to advance to their first National League Championship Series since 2007. The Dodgers need to win three consecutive games to avoid the embarrassment of a second NLDS defeat in two seasons.

Just about everything has gone right for the Diamondbacks, who have scored nine first-inning runs in two games and have limited Dodgers starters Clayton Kershaw and Bobby Miller to a combined two innings.

“We talked about making statements early,” Arizona manager Torey Lovullo said. “They have continued to maintain their competitive focus through any situation, days off, just doesn’t matter. These guys are very hungry, and they feel like they have a lot to prove.

“… Obviously we feel good about it, but we will take nothing for granted. We will continue to stay humble and work very hard.”

Diamondbacks standout rookie Corbin Carroll is 3-for-7 in the series with a home run and three walks, giving him a .600 on-base percentage in 10 trips to the plate. Tommy Pham is 6-for-10 with a home run, while Lourdes Gurriel Jr. is 3-for-9 with a double and a home run.

On the mound, starters Merrill Kelly and Zac Gallen have combined to give up just two runs over 11 2/3 innings. In Game 2, relievers Ryan Thompson, Kevin Ginkel and Paul Sewald held the Dodgers scoreless over the final 3 1/3 innings.

“I think we’re going out there with a lot of confidence, not afraid to lose,” Sewald said. “It certainly helps when you score six in the first and three in the first to feel better about yourself, obviously.”

Arizona will send rookie right-hander Brandon Pfaadt to the mound Wednesday against Dodgers right-hander Lance Lynn, who was 13-11 with a 5.73 ERA in 32 regular-season starts, although the number of note was his major league-leading 44 home runs allowed.

Pfaadt was 0-2 with a 9.35 ERA in two starts against the Dodgers this season and is expected to be limited to two turns through the order. Lynn is 6-1 lifetime against the Diamondbacks with a 2.96 ERA in 14 appearances (12 starts).

Injuries plagued the Dodgers’ starting staff all season, including a six-week stint on the injured list for Kershaw, who still appears to be feeling the effects of a midseason shoulder injury. The Dodgers also moved on from Julio Urias after his arrest on suspicion of domestic battery.

As bad as their pitching situation is, Los Angeles hasn’t helped itself on offense. MVP candidates Mookie Betts and Freddie Freeman are a combined 1-for-13 at the top of the order, leaving the lineup in search of a leader.

“Mookie, I think he’s expanding a little bit,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “… I think the first couple of games it seems more that he’s being aggressive on pitchers’ pitches. I wouldn’t say chasing, but not really swinging at the pitches that he can slug.”

As if falling to the division rival San Diego Padres in four games of last year’s NLDS wasn’t enough, the Dodgers could top that with a three-and-out this season.

“Obviously everything’s more magnified,” Roberts said. “It’s two games, but our backs are against the wall. We’ve got to make some type of adjustments, and we have no more margin (for error).”

–Field Level Media

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