Preview: Joc Pederson Returns To Lineup As Dodgers Look To Avoid Being Swept By Diamondbacks
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Dodgers lost a fifth consecutive game and now are in need of a win to avoid a second straight series sweep at the hands of the Arizona Diamondbacks. In addition rattling over a National League-best 12 consecutive wins, the Diamondbacks have not trailed in their last 98 innings.

Arizona will set an MLB record should they not trail through the first five innings of Wednesday’s series finale at Dodger Stadium. The responsibility is shared by Taijuan Walker, who threw five shutout innings and struck out 10 in his previous start.

Prior to that Sept. 1 outing, he limited the New York Mets and San Francisco Giants to a combined one run in 11.2 innings pitched. Walker is 5-4 with a 2.82 ERA and 1.37 WHIP in 12 road starts this season.

He faced the Dodgers in back-to-back starts in April, earning a victory and no-decision. The win came at Dodger Stadium, when Walker permitted just one run on four hits in five innings pitched.

In 14.2 career innings pitched against the Dodgers, Walker has given up 10 runs on 17 hits and six walks while striking out 16. In 23 starts this season, he’s 8-7 with a 3.42 ERA, 139 ERA+ and 1.29 WHIP.

Walker faces a Dodgers lineup that includes Joc Pederson for the first time since Aug. 18. Pederson was recalled from Triple-A Oklahoma City on Tuesday. He’s a career 3-for-6 with one double and an RBI off Walker.

Yasmani Grandal, who said he welcomed the challenge the Diamondbacks are posing, is 3-for-5 with a double and three walks against the righty.

On the mound for the Dodgers is Kenta Maeda as he looks to follow in the footsteps of Rich Hill and Hyun-Jin Ryu of redeeming for a poor start last week at Chase Field. When Maeda last faced the Diamondbacks, he allowed a career-high seven runs on eight hits (two home runs).

A shift to Dodger Stadium should bode well, he’s 8-1 with a 3.02 ERA and 0.97 WHIP at home this season. Overall in 2017, Maeda is 12-6 with with a 4.19 ERA, 100 ERA+ and 1.13 WHIP in 24 games (22 starts).

Included in that is a 0-2 mark and 9.53 ERA in four starts against the Diamondbacks. Jake Lamb is 9-for-24 with three doubles, two home runs and six RBI off Maeda, while David Peralta is 3-for-14 with three doubles.

The Dodgers called up Walker Buehler, the organization’s top prospect, to utilize him out of the bullpen. Buehler is believed to be a candidate to make the postseason roster.

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said Pedro Baez, who has pitched in back-to-back games, is unavailable, and so too is Brandon Morrow due to back issue.

With their win Tuesday night, the Diamondbacks clinched a season series against the Dodgers for the first time since 2013. Nonetheless, should the Dodgers come away with a win and the Pittsburgh Pirates defeat the Chicago Cubs, Los Angeles will become the first team to clinch a postseason berth.

Dodgers lineup:

SS: Chris Taylor
LF: Curtis Granderson
3B: Justin Turner
1B: Cody Bellinger
C: Yasmani Grandal
RF: Yasiel Puig
2B: Chase Utley
CF: Joc Pederson
P: Kenta Maeda

Diamondbacks lineup:

LF: David Peralta
C: Chris Iannetta
3B: Jake Lamb
RF: J.D. Martinez
1B: Daniel Descalso
CF: A.J. Polluck
2B: Brandon Drury
SS: Ketel Marte
P: Taijuan Walker