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LOS ANGELES – To the extent that an early-season road trip can mean much of anything to a baseball team embarking on a 162-game schedule, the Diamondbacks’ 10-game swing through the National League West hasn’t served as an encouraging barometer.

Halfway through, they are on their way to erasing the optimism they created with their rousing opening homestand. Their 8-4 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers on Saturday night dropped them to 1-4 on the trip, another night in which their offense struggled, their defense failed them and their bullpen was unable to keep things close.

“I know that we’re not playing great baseball overall,” manager Torey Lovullo said. “We haven’t executed in some key moments. … We haven’t done the right thing at the right time as we were on the homestand.”

After racing to a 6-1 start, the Diamondbacks now sit at 7-5. The offense that had performed so well at home managed just five hits on Saturday night. Two came off the bat of typically light-hitting Nick Ahmed, who launched a three-run homer in the second inning and added a run-scoring single in the fourth.

The Diamondbacks are hitting .183 with 12 runs scored on the trip. Paul Goldschmidt, A.J. Pollock, David Peralta and Brandon Drury have two hits apiece – eight hits total – in the five games, giving them a combined .114 average.

LOOKING AHEAD: Taijuan Walker ‘in good place’ for Sunday’s start vs. Dodgers

But defensive miscues were perhaps even more costly on Saturday. In the fourth, Ahmed backhanded a ball in the hole, but after his throw drew Goldschmidt off the bag, he slammed his hand on the grass in frustration. The mistake would lead to a run.

An inning later, catcher Chris Herrmann faked to second to draw Enrique Hernandez off third base. But his throw to third struck Hernandez in the back, and Hernandez raced home with the go-ahead run. The sequence occurred with the opposing pitcher at the plate and two out.

“I wouldn’t do anything differently,” Herrmann said. “It’s kind of bad luck. If you think about it, I hit him square in the back and if he wasn’t standing there – or maybe if he was in foul ground – I probably would have got him.”

Things got out of hand in the eighth. After reliever J.J. Hoover struck out both batters he faced, Lovullo went to Fernando Rodney, who allowed a double and a hit batter before Yasiel Puig launched a three-run homer into the Dodgers’ bullpen in left. It was a baffling pitching change, but Lovullo said it was by design.

“He and I talked about it before the game that he wanted to get some work on the mound,” Lovullo said, noting Rodney hadn’t pitched since Tuesday night. “Unfortunately, it didn’t work out.”

MORE: Bradley’s bullpen role a hot topic for D-Backs

That they took a loss at Dodger Stadium comes as little surprise. The Dodgers are good, of course, and have been for a while – they’re division champs four years running – but they’re world-beaters when they play the Diamondbacks – especially when they play them here.

Since the start of 2014, the Dodgers are 42-17 against the Diamondbacks, tied for the highest win total for any series in that span. (The Mets also have beaten the Phillies 42 times in the past three-plus seasons.) The numbers are even worse in Los Angeles, where the Diamondbacks are 6-24 since the beginning of 2014.

The back half of their trip looks kinder than the front. The Dodgers aren’t starting Clayton Kershaw again, and the San Diego Padres aren’t exactly in win-now mode. But the Diamondbacks haven’t looked like the same team that blitzed the Giants and Indians during the opening week.

“It’s a situation where we’re going to keep plowing away at it,” Lovullo said. “It’s a part of the game that we have to work through these moments and I know these guys will.”

Reach Piecoro at (602) 444-8680 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @nickpiecoro.

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Sunday’s game

Diamondbacks at Dodgers

When: 1:10 p.m.

Where: Dodger Stadium, Los Angeles.

Pitchers: Diamondbacks RHP Taijuan Walker (1-1, 4.91) vs. Dodgers LHP Rich Hill (1-0, 1.80).

TV/Radio: FSAZ/KMVP-FM (98.7), KHOV-FM (105.1).

Walker gave up three runs (two earned) in five-plus innings against the Giants on Monday, with all of the runs scoring on one play in the fourth inning on which Walker and catcher Jeff Mathis were charged with throwing errors. … Walker’s first start was only so-so as well; he gave up four runs in six innings against the Giants at Chase Field. … He’s only faced the Dodgers once in his career, in 2015, in an outing in which he gave up five runs in four innings at Dodger Stadium. … Hill gave up one run in five innings in his first start of the year, then missed his second one due to a blister issue. The plan is for him to come off the disabled list to start on Sunday. … Hill, whom the Dodgers acquired from Oakland at the trade deadline last year, re-signed in December for three years and $48 million. … He faced the Diamondbacks once last season, giving up four runs in 5 1/3 innings in a start at Chase Field.

Coming up

Monday: At Los Angeles, 7:10 p.m., Diamondbacks LHP Robbie Ray (1-0, 2.19) vs. Dodgers RHP Brandon McCarthy (2-0, 1.50).

Tuesday: At San Diego, 7:10 p.m., Diamondbacks RHP Shelby Miller (1-1, 5.06) vs. Padres RHP Jared Cosart (0-0, 3.86).

Wednesday: At San Diego, 7:10 p.m., Diamondbacks RHP Zack Greinke (1-1, 4.32) vs. Padres RHP Zach Lee (1-0, 0.00).