This is less a preview and more just a plea. As you may have heard on the roundtable, the Dodger's magic number is currently four. As in, the Dodgers need a combination of four Dodger wins and Diamondback losses to get into the playoffs. As in, if the Dodgers win two of the next four games, they will clinch the playoffs at Chase Field.
I root for the Diamondbacks in every game, because that's sort of in the job description of a Diamondback fan. But there's a difference between "Padres series in late August" enthusiasm, and "NLDS Game 5" enthusiasm.
This is the latter for me. There's a distinct possibility that we will watch Yasiel Puig sprint into the pool in celebration this year. And Andre Ethier will give some quote about "how great it is to clinch in front of friends and family." And the YouTube clip will feature Vin Scully's comments while half the stadium celebrates in the background in Dodger Blue.
And Bill Plaschke will finish a column with "The only thing that would have made the moment better would have been Ian Kennedy on the mound." It will be broken into three different paragraphs because Bill Plaschke.
I'm not under any delusions that the Dodgers won't win the division, but I don't want to watch it happen. Make San Francisco deal with that. It'll ruin their day and their swimming pool in Right Field has more room for celebrating in than ours does.
Please don't let that happen in the next four days, Diamondbacks. I will be rooting like it's 2011 for anything but this to happen. Forget Cincy: this is the real "must-win series" of the year.
What the Stats Say (Courtesy of Fangraphs):
1. Adam Eaton, LF
2. A.J. Pollock, CF
3. Paul Goldschmidt, 1B
4. Aaron Hill, 2B
5. Martin Prado, 3B
6. Gerardo Parra, RF
7. Miguel Montero, C
8. Didi Gregorius, SS
Los Angeles Dodgers
1. Yasiel Puig, CF
2. Carl Crawford, LF
3. Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
4. Hanley Ramirez, SS
5. Juan Uribe, 3B
6. Mark Ellis, 2B
7. Scott Van Slyke, RF
8. A.J. Ellis, C
Seemingly half the Dodgers' lineup has some weird ailment or another, but only Ethier has been confirmed to miss time, thanks to an ankle injury.
Monday: Trevor Cahill (6-10, 4.22) vs. Hyun-Jin Ryu (13-6, 3.07)
Insightful Commentary: Don't look now, but Cahill has an ERA in 3 in the six starts he's made since coming off the DL. His peripherals are...well, let's focus on the positives here. This is still Cahill's worst season of his career by most measures, but other than that month of June where he fought his command and lost, he's been perfectly fine in 2013.
Ryu hasn't started since his last game against the Diamondbacks, thanks to a stiff back in the interim, according to the Diamondbacks' website. Ten days ago, he looked rather hittable and only got a single strikeout, but powered through it to get a Quality Start.
Tuesday: Patrick Corbin (14-6, 2.92) vs. Zack Greinke (14-3, 2.74)
Insightful Commentary: Remember when people wanted to shut Corbin down for the season about two weeks ago? Boy, do those guys look silly now. In his last two starts, he's gone 14.1 innings while giving up just four runs. He's been a bit more hittable than usual, and his stuff might not have been as live, but he's still getting results. Any shutdown now would be strictly precautionary.
Wasn't Zack Greinke supposed to not be able to handle big markets? It was a huge deal when Kansas City was attempting to trade him a few years back. But since then it's barely come up, to the best of my knowledge. While I'd like to believe that this has to do with the baseball media gaining a new understanding for how social anxiety operates, I'm looking at his record and assuming that it has more to do with the fact that his performance in the second-largest media market in the country screwed up their pre-planned narrative.
Wednesday: Brandon McCarthy (4-9, 4.58) vs. Clayton Kershaw (14-9, 1.94)
Insightful Commentary: More baserunners than usual for McCarthy, but the end result was still just two runs over six strong innings. Mechanics Watch 2013 is still on...
This might actually be Kershaw's best season, though there are some good choices there. His fWAR was higher in 2011, but he's probably going to finish the season with a lower ERA and more innings pitched in 2013, and his FIP is almost identical. Honestly, the fact that this is even a discussion is testament to how good Kershaw's career has been.
Thursday: Wade Miley (10-10, 3.70) vs. Ricky Nolasco (8-2, 2.63)
Insightful Commentary: It couldn't make much less of a difference, but on the whole, I'd really prefer if Wade Miley finished this season with a winning record.
Josh Wall can't break into the Marlins' bullpen in September. Think about that. Angel Sanchez has been mediocre in A+ Ball. Steve Ames pitched four innings in the majors. And that's what the Marlins gave up their Opening Day starter for. Well, that and making the big pile of money that Jeffrey Loria sleeps on a bit bigger.
Dodgers Blog: True Blue LA
(All stats via Fangraphs or Baseball-Reference unless otherwise indicated.)