D-backs try to slow down Gonzalez

(SportsNetwork.com) – Arizona’s Chase Anderson has the unenviable task of
slowing down Los Angeles Dodgers first baseman Adrian Gonzalez on Friday when
the National League West rivals begin a three-game series at Chase Field.

Gonzalez, who homered once in each of the first two games against the San
Diego Padres, went deep in his first three at-bats on Wednesday to help the
Dodgers to a 7-4 win and in the process became the first player in MLB history
with five home runs in the first three games of a season.

“I’m still not a home-run hitter,” Gonzalez insisted to the Dodgers’ official
website. “I just try to hit line drives. If they go over the fence, they go
over the fence.”

The Dodgers slugger finished Wednesday’s finale against the Padres 4-for-4
with four RBI. He has 10 hits in 13 at-bats on the season to go along with
seven runs and seven RBI.

“Adrian put extra work in during the offseason and it’s paying off,” said
Dodgers manager Don Mattingly.

Should he leave the yard again on Friday he’d be the first Dodger to homer in
the team’s first four games and the first major leaguer to do so since
Baltimore’s Chris Davis in 2013.

“He’s about as locked in as he can be,” Wednesday’s winning pitcher Brandon
McCarthy said. “That’s a nightmare for a pitcher to face. He’s older and knows
exactly his routine. There’s so much discipline in his at-bats. It’s very hard
to fool him.”

It won’t be easy for Anderson to slow Gonzalez down, as he has typically done
well against the D-backs. Over the last two seasons he’s hit .400 against them
with 11 home runs and 39 RBI.

The 27-year-old Anderson was 9-7 as a rookie last season, posting a 4.01 ERA
in 29 games.

While the Dodgers took two of three to open the year, Arizona dropped two of
three to the defending world champion San Francisco Giants, including a 5-2
setback in Wednesday’s finale.

Jeremy Hellickson (0-1) pitched 4 1/3 innings for Arizona and was charged with
three runs on nine hits and two walks.

“I don’t think any of his location was any good,” D-backs manager Chip Hale
said of Hellickson’s outing. “I think (the staff) is amped up a little bit.”

Getting the call for the Dodgers on Friday will be oft-injured Brett Anderson,
who inked a one-year deal this winter.

Anderson made just eight starts last year in his lone season with the Colorado
Rockies because of a broken left index finger and lower back surgery. He was
1-3 with a 2.91 ERA, permitting three or fewer earned runs in seven of his
eight outings.

The Dodgers won 15 of 19 games with the D-backs last season, including the
last five.