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LAD@ARI: Nolasco excels on hill, at dish in LA debut

When the Dodgers and D-backs last opened up a series against each other, the standings in the National League West looked a lot different.

Arizona came into the three-game set at Chase Field on July 8 armed with a five-game winning streak and a 4 1/2-game lead over Los Angeles in the division.

But after the Dodgers swept all three games, including the series finale in which they were down to their final out in the ninth only to come back and win it in the 14th, the NL West has since transformed from one of the most competitive races in baseball to a laugher. That sort of abrupt shakeup can happen when a team goes on the type of run Los Angeles had in the middle of the season.

The Dodgers were a remarkable 38-14 entering Sunday night since last playing the D-backs, while Arizona has been treading water with a 25-26 record.

Now, more than two months later, the top two teams in the NL West will open up a series at Dodger Stadium on Monday as the Dodgers try to extend their double-digit lead in the division and move one step closer to clinching a playoff spot.

"We'll be fired up for the Dodgers," said D-backs outfielder A.J. Pollock. "That's a great team and they have a great pitching staff. We want to go out and show them we've got some players, too."

For Los Angeles, the club will send out Ricky Nolasco, who has dominated the D-backs in two previous meetings this season. Before being traded to the Dodgers, the right-hander tossed eight innings of one-run ball vs. the Snakes in Miami to earn a victory. Then in his Dodgers debut, Nolasco worked seven innings and surrendered just one run to take down Arizona once more, 6-1.

"He's been good since we got him," Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. "He's given us that next guy. We have a pretty good chunk of our rotation that we believe can pitch well every time out, and he's part of that."

Opposing Nolasco for the D-backs will be Randall Delgado. The 23-year-old has been fairly steady since joining the Arizona rotation in mid-June, turning in quality starts in 10 of his 15 outings this season. His last time out, Delgado threw seven strong frames vs. the Blue Jays, surrendering three runs on just four hits.

"He threw the ball outstanding," D-backs infielder Willie Bloomquist said after the game. "Gave up a few runs early, but was outstanding the rest of the day -- working ahead in the count and getting a lot of contact ground balls and stuff like that. It was great playing behind him. He did a good job keeping us in the game the rest of the way."

Dodgers: Ryu hopeful for Wednesday return
Hyun-Jin Ryu, scratched from his scheduled start Friday due to back stiffness, said he is optimistic about being ready to return Wednesday against Arizona.

"I was never worried in any way," Ryu said through an interpreter. "I'm feeling a lot better, but [starting Wednesday] is up to the manager."

Mattingly said he is "fairly confident" Ryu will be available.

Left-hander Chris Capuano, who had to come out of his start Friday with a mild groin strain, threw light catch Sunday and is "moving forward," according to Mattingly.

D-backs: Prado still sidelined with illness
Martin Prado was out of the D-backs' starting lineup for the second straight day Sunday because of flu-like symptoms.

"He's getting better but he's still under the weather," D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said. "It just came on here and has affected people in different ways."

The NL Player of the Month for August, who grounded out in a pinch-hit appearance in the 10th, went 1-for-8 in the first two games against the Giants. He has a career-best 73 RBIs.

Worth noting
• Matt Kemp, who strained his right hamstring Friday during a rehab workout session, won't be evaluated until Sept. 16 at the earliest and the Dodgers are unsure if he'll return in the regular season.

• Paul Goldschmidt has hit six home runs at Dodger Stadium, his most of any stadium outside of Chase Field. He has a .348 average in Los Angeles and hits .326 against Dodgers pitching overall. Comments