Coming off another strong road trip, the Dodgers will begin a six-game homestand on Friday, looking to improve on a 13-19 record at Dodger Stadium.
Los Angeles took two of three from Colorado last weekend and split four games in Cincinnati, improving its road record to 22-14. But the Dodgers were 8 1/2 games behind the first-place Giants after Thursday's 4-1 loss to the Reds, and they know they'll have to do better on their home field if they want to challenge San Francisco.
Los Angeles will hand the ball to Clayton Kershaw (5-2, 3.17) in Friday's series opener against Arizona. The Dodgers' ace is 8-7 with a 2.69 ERA in 19 career starts against the D-backs.
His most recent outing against the D-backs, on May 17, was one of the worst of his career: He lasted only 1 2/3 innings and gave up seven earned runs in an 18-7 road loss. But he didn't make any excuses after that poor start.
"I just got hit hard tonight. I don't know why," Kershaw said. "I left some balls up, and they got hits. I can't really make excuses, saying they found holes. They hit balls hard, and they hit balls in gaps. I just got hit hard tonight."
The D-backs have won six of their last 10 and posted a 17-16 record on the road heading into Friday's series opener. On Friday they'll start rookie right-hander Chase Anderson, who has earned a win in all five of his starts this season.
This will be Anderson's second start against Kershaw. In that game, Anderson allowed five runs over 5 1/3 innings.
"Thanks [goes to] the offense today," Anderson said after that outing "This is definitely on them."
Anderson took a valuable lesson from that game that he has continued to carry with him: Locate his fastball, and then build from there.
Anderson said that his fastball sits around 90-92 mph, though he has topped out at 93. Getting a good feel for his fastball, he says, enables him to better work his curveball and changeup into counts and sufficiently mix his pitches.
"If you're going to be a starting pitcher, you've got to have fastball command," he said. "I don't overpower people."
D-backs: Pacheco signed, Evans DFA'd
Arizona acquired Jordan Pacheco on Thursday after successfully claiming the former Colorado infielder/catcher off waivers. To make room on the roster, in a corresponding move, the team designated backup infielder Nick Evans for assignment.
Manager Kirk Gibson spoke highly of Pacheco's versatility, noting that he can play catcher, second base, third base and even the outfield.
"He's a really good hitter," Gibson said. "He's a good fit for us right now."
A right-handed hitter, Pacheco left Colorado batting .236 with eight RBIs and six doubles in 72 at-bats this season. However, he is a career .281 hitter across parts of four seasons in the Majors.
Evans went 1-for-11 at the plate in eight games with the D-backs.
Dodgers: Mattingly reasserts faith in Kemp
Despite Matt Kemp's recent offensive struggles, manager Don Mattingly still believes he will turn things around.
Kemp went 2-for-3 with a walk and an RBI in Thursday's 4-1 loss to the Reds. He is batting .254 with five home runs and 19 RBIs on the season. In his previous 19 games, he had been hitting .206 with no homers and five RBIs. Though he had a good series in Colorado (5-for-9, with two triples and three RBIs), he struggled in his first three games in Cincinnati, going 1-for-8 with five strikeouts.
"We've seen flashes, right?" Mattingly said. "Colorado was pretty good. He was really good, actually, in Colorado. Certain times it's just matchups. You may hit a little stretch where the guy he's facing gets the ball to the part of the plate he's not handling, or certain pitches don't match up."
Mattingly doesn't think Kemp has regressed permanently, even with his injury history.
"I think Matt is better than .250," Mattingly said. "I think he's going to hit. I just know the ability's there. I know it's there. It's been there before, it's there again. He's not at an age where you say, 'It's not there anymore.' There's a possibility that age has basically caught up, but he's still pretty much in a time where body-wise, reaction-wise, he's still young, and he's done it before. He can do it again."
• Kershaw ranks second among National League starters with 11.92 strikeouts per nine innings. He's struck out 64 and walked only seven.
• Anderson is one of three starters new to a D-backs rotation that has been solid for Arizona of late. He, Bronson Arroyo and Josh Collmenter have combined to go 14-3 with a 3.05 ERA in 23 starts since April 25.
Caitlin Swieca is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.