Surging Diamondbacks sweep Dodgers in Los Angeles

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The Dodgers remade their lineup Wednesday to fit in new arrival Shane Victorino, but it led to just two hits — one off the bat of starter Stephen Fife — as the Diamondbacks won 4-0 to complete a three-game sweep in Los Angeles.

Manager Don Mattingly, too often limited to one or two quality hitters in his lineup early on this season, decided to frontload his lineup today. Not only did Victorino lead off, but Andre Ethier was moved up to the two hole, allowing Hanley Ramirez to bat cleanup behind Matt Kemp.

Mattingly’s plan seems like a good one, but Patrick Corbin completely shut down the Dodgers today. Kemp had the only hit from a Dodgers position player. Diamondbacks pitchers were perfect after a Jerry Hairston Jr. walk to lead off the fourth, facing 17 batters and getting 18 outs (A.J. Ellis hit into a double play to end the fourth).

Corbin, who was removed after six innings, was just added to Arizona’s roster before the game. When he was scratched from his Triple-A start Monday, some thought it might signal a trade. The Diamondbacks, though, just wanted Corbin up to replace Josh Collmenter in the rotation. He was stellar today and now 3-4 with a 3.60 ERA in six starts and five relief appearances over all.

Also worth mentioning: third baseman Chris Johnson had a stellar series for his new team. He was already hot before the trade from Houston, but he’s gone 6-for-11 with two homers and seven RBI in three games for Arizona. He even has two walks versus no strikeouts. In Houston, he had a 92/23 K/BB ratio in 92 games.

The Diamondbacks have gone 10-3 in their last 13 games to move three games over .500 on the season. They’re three games back of the Giants in the NL West and 1 1/2 back of the Dodgers.

Cardinals move Luke Weaver to the bullpen

Luke Weaver
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Cardinals right-hander Luke Weaver has been reassigned to the bullpen, manager Mike Shildt announced Sunday. Fellow righty Daniel Poncedeleon will take his spot in the rotation for the time being, though it’s still unclear whether Weaver’s demotion is a permanent one or not.

Still, it’s not the most surprising of moves, especially as the club advances toward a potential playoff berth in October. Weaver, 24, has struggled to find his groove this season after putting up a 6-11 record in 24 starts and a 4.67 ERA, 3.2 BB/9 and 8.0 SO/9 over 125 1/3 innings in 2018. During two of his last three outings in August, he was pulled before the fifth inning, citing mechanical issues with his delivery that may be impacting his fastball location and delivery and having an adverse effect on his results — and those of the team — as well.

Poncedeleon, on the other hand, appears primed to take on more responsibility following an impressive run with the Cardinals this summer. He maintained a sub-3.00 ERA through his first six appearances, issuing four runs, nine walks, and 10 strikeouts over 17 2/3 innings. While he hasn’t handled more than one start in the big leagues, his track record in the minors speaks to his ability to get consistent results on the mound: he went 9-3 in 17 starts at Triple-A Memphis with a 2.15 ERA, 4.7 BB/9 and 10.1 SO/9 across 92 innings. He’s scheduled to cover for Weaver on Tuesday against the Pirates and will presumably continue to pitch out of the rotation for the remaining six weeks of the season.