Preview: Game 34, Diamondbacks @ Dodgers

USA TODAY Sports

The Diamondbacks go for the sweep this evening in Los Angeles. Who can stop them? The man who was runner-up and winner in the NL Cy Young balloting the last two years will try...

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Wade Miley
LHP, 2-1, 3.06

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Clayton Kershaw
LHP, 3-2, 1.66

Diamondbacks Line-up

  1. A.J. Pollock, CF
  2. Didi Gregorius, SS
  3. Paul Goldschmidt, 1B
  4. Cody Ross, LF
  5. Martin Prado, 3B
  6. Wil Nieves, C
  7. Gerardo Parra, RF
  8. Josh Wilson, 2B
  9. Wade Miley, P

After two days of lightly-challenging contests against the back end of the Dodgers rotation, which have resulted in two Diamondbacks wins, things step up a notch tonight. Kinda glad we've already got the series win in the bag, because if we want the sweep we have to go through... Well, let me put it like this:

  • Level 1, Monday: Take on with
  • Level 2, Tuesday: Take on with
  • Boss Level, tonight: Take on with

Yeah, it feels like that. I know we did manage to get to Kershaw - relatively speaking, anyway - in April, tagging him for three earned runs, but I don't have an enormous amount of confidence in lighting striking twice. That's even if we have done quote well historically: we tagged Kershaw with the L, the last four times he has faced us, and he's 7-6 lifetime against us, compared to 24-12 against the rest of the NL West. Still, over his last two starts, Kershaw has thrown 15 innings, and allowed one run on seven hits and three walks, with 17 strikeouts. So, I'm going expecting precisely nothing, and anything above that - such as a sweep - will be a pleasing bonus.

I am concerned about Miley. Admittedly, didn't really think the sub-three ERA was going to hang around all season, but his last two starts - even if his ERA in them is only 3.86 - have been ugly, ugly affairs. 13 hits and 10 walks in only 9.1 innings is not a pattern compatible with sustained success. I think it's the walks that bother me most - the hits are likely at least partly due to a .400 BABIP. But last year, one of the keys to Miley's success, was that he walked only 1.7 per nine innings of work. If that isn't going to be the case going forward.... A return to old-school Miley, the one which throws strikes, is almost essential if we're to have a chance tonight.

Slightly less platoony line-up for the Diamondbacks tonight, with both Parra and Gregorius getting to start against a left-handed starter, rather than Pennington and Wilson (with Prado moving to an outfield spot), Really, the only apparent concession is the replacement of Miguel Montero with Nieves, though I guess Gibson decided Parra was the lesser of two left-handed evils over Jason Kubel. Startled to discover that Kubel has exactly five plate-appearances against a left-handed pitcher this season thus far, and it does seem like he's basically a platoon bat. Not that Parra is doing much more, at .194 with no extra-base hits, though does have a decent number of walks.

We'll see what happens. Definitely managing my expectations for this one: if we can sweep LA, I'll be delighted - and I'm sure Paul Goldschmidt could provide that single-handed - but even the series win we already have in the bank will do for me. Tonight, it's house money.

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