(Sports Network) - Veteran Chris Capuano hopes to find his early-season form and better the Los Angeles Dodgers' playoff chances on Sunday afternoon when the club concludes a four-game series against the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Signed to be the Dodgers' fifth starter, Capuano surprised all by going 9-4 with a 2.91 earned run average before the All-Star break. However, he is just 2-6 with a 4.87 ERA in nine starts since and has yielded six runs in back-to- back losses.
The 34-year-old southpaw also yielded 10 hits over six frames of an 8-4 loss at the Colorado Rockies on Tuesday, losing for the fifth time in six decisions. He fell to 11-10 with a 3.58 earned run average in 27 starts.
Capuano suffered a loss to the Diamondbacks on July 31, touched for five runs, six hits, two homers and three walks over six inning of work. He fell to 2-6 lifetime versus Arizona with a 4.67 ERA.
Wade Miley beat Capuano in that meeting and hopes for similar results today. He scattered a run and six hits over eight innings of the 8-2 win in late July, striking out seven to improve to 2-1 with a 3.22 ERA versus Los Angeles.
Miley was denied his third straight win and 15th of the season on Tuesday, giving up three second-inning runs in a 5-2 setback to the Cincinnati Reds. The rookie left-hander yielded six hits and a walk over his seven-inning outing.
"Wade couldn't get the ball down that inning. The balls were elevated and they were hitting them," Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson said.
The 25-year-old is 14-9 with a 2.85 ERA this season and can pitch the Diamondbacks to a series victory today.
Arizona took the first two games of this series, stretching its winning streak over Los Angeles to eight in a row, before the Dodgers posted a solid 2-1 win on Saturday.
Josh Beckett took the win in his second start with the Dodgers, giving up a run and striking out nine over 6 2/3 innings.
"(Catcher A.J. Ellis) did a good job of putting a game plan together, It's all about execution," Beckett said. "The guys played great defense. It's nice to be in the middle of a pennant race, especially in September. From here on we have to win some series."
Andre Ethier and Hanley Ramirez each hit homers for the Dodgers, who are 1 1/2 games out of a wild card spot and 4 1/2 back of the first-place San Francisco Giants in the NL West.
Tyler Skaggs started for the D'backs and allowed just one run on five hits and struck out three over five innings. However, Matt Albers was pegged with the loss for giving up Ethier's homer in the sixth.
"Tyler threw very well and kept his composure," Gibson said. "They hit two home runs and we hit one. That's the extent of it. We needed more offense tonight."
Justin Upton homered for Arizona, which has dropped seven of its last nine.
Arizona is still 10-5 against the Dodgers this season.