With their magic number to clinch the National League West title down to eight, the Dodgers have six more games at home this week before hitting the road for a 10-game trip beginning Sept. 16. Of course, Los Angeles would love nothing more than to have that number hit zero while the club is playing in front of its home fans at Dodger Stadium.
On Tuesday, the Dodgers will have a chance to move one step closer to that goal and reduce their magic number to six when they host the team they're trying to eliminate, the D-backs, in the second game of a three-game set.
After snapping their longest losing streak since May (a four-game skid) in the series opener Monday night with the help of six homers, the Dodgers will send one of their newest acquisitions to the mound Tuesday in Edinson Volquez. Signed by the club at the end of August after he was released by the Padres, Volquez allowed four runs on six hits in four innings Wednesday vs. the Rockies in his first start for Los Angeles.
Dodgers pitching coach Rick Honeycutt has been working with the veteran right-hander on a number of tweaks, like moving him from the first-base side of the rubber to the third-base side in an attempt to provide better deception. Volquez has also worked on keeping a direct line to home plate, instead of spinning off toward first.
"I was doing everything they wanted me to do," Volquez said after his first start with L.A. "I've got to execute pitches, keep the ball down."
Volquez made one start against Arizona earlier this year when he was still with San Diego in May, tossing 6 2/3 innings of one-run ball.
Opposing him for the D-backs will be a suddenly resurgent Trevor Cahill, who has a 2.42 ERA in four appearances since Aug. 22. The 25-year-old beat the Giants his last time out by limiting San Francisco to two runs over five innings.
In two starts vs. the Dodgers this year, Cahill has surrendered just two runs in 14 1/3 innings.
Dodgers: Pair of injured players on the mend
Matt Kemp, who's recovering from a sprained left ankle and a more recent hamstring issue, took batting practice in the cage at the Dodgers' Spring Training facility at Camelback Ranch-Glendale on Monday, manager Don Mattingly said.
• Chris Capuano, who was forced to exit a start on Friday in the second inning because of a mild groin strain, played catch from 60 feet on Monday. Mattingly said the club does not have a date in mind for Capuano to get back on a mound, but said the left-hander "is moving forward."
D-backs: Prado back in the lineup
After being left out of the starting lineup the past two games with an upper respiratory illness, Martin Prado was back for Monday's series opener, starting in left field and batting fifth.
"I wouldn't say he's healed, [but] he's much better today," D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said.
Prado went 1-for-4 in his return, scoring the D-backs' only run of the game.
• D-backs reliever Brad Ziegler has held NL West foes scoreless in 13 of 15 road games this season.
• Juan Uribe on Monday became the first Dodgers player to hit three home runs in a game since Andre Ethier did it against Seattle on June 26, 2009.
Tyler Emerick is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.