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05/09/10 10:41 PM ET

Dodgers, D-backs open NL West set

Three games into another trek into play in the National League West, the Dodgers should be feeling pretty good about themselves.

The boys in blue won two out of three against the Rockies during the weekend and will take on the D-backs starting Monday. Next weekend, they will travel to San Diego hoping to improve on their 6-3 record in the division.

The D-backs, who were swept by Milwaukee over the weekend, have other ideas. Arizona is 5-7 against the division so far this season.

Let the NL West games begin.

Again.

"So far we've held up well in our division," Dodgers manager Joe Torre said. "Now that we're playing in our division and we continue to do that, maybe we can get on a little roll. That's what we need to do. Again we have to do it ourselves [because] no one's going to do us any favors."

Chad Billingsley will do the Dodgers a big solid if he performs better. The right-hander has yet to pitch into the seventh inning this season. However, he bounced back from a four-run first inning in his last start against the Pirates to go six innings and allow no further scoring.

He has been plagued with inconsistency on the mound and is still searching for the form that made him an All-Star last season. On the bright side, he's pitched six innings in each of his past three starts.

"He's getting there, I think he's finding more and more out about himself," Torre said. "All I know is two starts in a row, he has really been free and throwing the ball really well. I thought his velocity the last two games has been really good."

D-backs starter Rodrigo Lopez has shined in 2010. He pitched well enough to win in his last start against the Astros in Houston, but came away with a no-decision after allowing two runs on three hits over seven innings. While not overpowering, Lopez has a good feel for pitching and manages a game well. At times, he has shown the poise and stuff that once made him a mainstay in Baltimore's rotation early in his career.

The D-backs could use a fine performance from Lopez. Arizona has won three of its past 10 games.

"No question, we've been struggling," Lopez said. "We just have to continue to do our job. The bullpen is going to be fine and we're going to get back on track."

Dodgers: Rotation in question
The Dodgers will announce Tuesday's starter on Monday, Torre said. The manager said he favored Ramon Ortiz over Carlos Monasterios because Ortiz could go deeper into a game. ... On Sunday, Clayton Kershaw picked off Eric Young Jr. to end the fifth inning for his team-leading second pickoff of the season and the 11th pickoff of his career.

D-backs: Drew, Jackson keep hitting
Stephen Drew recorded his team-leading 12th multi-hit game of the season on Sunday. ... Conor Jackson has hit safely in nine straight games and is batting .297 (11-for-37) during that stretch. ... The D-backs were swept for the second time this season, with the first coming April 16-18 at San Diego.

Worth noting:
Is it time for another stolen base from Manny Ramirez? Maybe. Ramirez was caught stealing in the second inning Sunday in his first steal attempt since being thrown out on Aug. 26, 2009, at Colorado. His last stolen base came on Aug. 29, 2008, against -- you guessed it -- Arizona.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


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