Brett Anderson feels he's executing certain pitches as well as he has over his first few months in Los Angeles, resulting in his most promising stretch with the club.
The ultimate test of that progress might be coming Wednesday night in Arizona in the form of Paul Goldschmidt, the Diamondbacks slugger who has accounted for a third of the home runs the Dodgers left-hander has given up this season.
Anderson (4-4, 3.13 ERA) has consecutive wins and a 1.71 ERA in his last three, giving the injury-prone pitcher a shot at winning five games for the first time since going 7-6 in 2010 with Oakland. He gave up a run and five hits with a career high-matching 10 strikeouts in seven innings of Friday's 7-1 win in Miami.
"My stuff was probably the best overall that it's been with the sinker," Anderson told MLB's official website. "Then I got some strikeouts with the slider, which hasn't really quite been there."
Anderson's four career starts against Arizona have all come since the start of last season, and he's gone 0-1 with a 3.91 ERA. Goldschmidt is 6 for 8 with two homers against Anderson this year and 7 for 11 lifetime. Yasmany Tomas is 2 for 5 with a home run.
Anderson will be opposed by Robbie Ray, whose transformation has been far more drastic and is one the Diamondbacks would like to see continue in order to start reversing a 6.39 ERA out of their rotation during a 3-5 span.
In his six starts last season, Ray (2-3, 1.98) gave up 22 earned runs. Through his first six this year, he's trimmed that by 275 percent to eight.
That upswing, however, has yet to bring him any wins in bunches. Ray has lost consecutive starts, but he's still yet to allow more than three earned runs this season.
In Friday's 4-2 loss in San Diego, two of the three runs the left-hander gave up were earned as he surrendered five hits in six innings.
"His stuff was very good," manager Chip Hale said. "He threw his offspeed pitch more, threw his breaking ball and changeup, which was impressive, his fastball was electric again."
The 23-year-old pitched in a 3-1 loss at Dodger Stadium on June 9, yielding two runs and four hits with four walks in 6 2-3 innings. Howie Kendrick homered in that game just as he did in the 10th inning of Tuesday's 6-4 win that sent the Dodgers (44-35) to their 30th victory in the last 40 against Arizona (37-40).
Los Angeles is seeking its 11th series win in the 14 covering that span.
Kendrick was 4 for 5 with two RBIs and the second baseman is 12 for 21 in five games as well as hitting .370 in 14 career contests against Arizona.
Joc Pederson homered for a second straight game to extend his MLB rookie-leading total to 20. That moves him past Yasiel Puig's mark of 19 from 2013 and into a tie for fifth in Dodgers' history with Greg Brock (1983) and Eric Karros ('92).
He's on pace to top Mike Piazza's club record of 35 from 1993, as well as the NL record of 38 set by Wally Berger in '30 and matched by Frank Robinson in '56.
Yasmani Grandal has also homered in both games in the series and three straight against Arizona. The catcher is batting .400 with five homers in 10 games in the season series.
Goldschmidt was 2 for 4 with a double and an RBI, giving him a .432 average in 11 games against the Dodgers this season. He's batting .385 against left-handed pitching since the start of 2014.