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Series Preview #25: Diamondbacks vs Dodgers

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A sweep will be needed to return to a .500 record. A sweep against one of the best teams in the NL. A sweep against a team which easily swept the D-Backs a couple weeks ago. Oh boy.

What the heck is Yasmany doing here
What the heck is Yasmany doing here
Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

Arizona Diamondbacks (36-39) vs Los Angeles Dodgers (43-34)

The Diamondbacks are coming off a very disappointing road trip, where they lost 4 of 6 in Colorado and San Diego. The pitching was terrible, allowing 4 or more runs in each game. The trip leaves them 6 games behind LA for first in the West, 3 games below the coveted Mt. 500.

The Dodgers have been doing very well lately, winning 4 of their last 5. They just won a 3 game series in Miami, where they outscored Miami 11-4. Unlike the Diamondbacks, LA's pitching has been fantastic. They have allowed 3 or less runs in 7 of the last 8 games. The offense is also nothing to scoff at, leading the NL in team OPS. Surprisingly, the offense has been led by Justin Turner, who holds the best OPS+ of all third basemen. The Dodgers lead the NL West by 1 game over the Giants, and hold the third best record in the NL.

Good News
  • The Diamondbacks miss facing Kershaw and Greinke again. This is the second time in a row this has happened, and the D-Backs need to capitalize on this.
  • Jake Lamb MIGHT be coming around. This is some major SSS, but in his last 2 games he's 4 for 7 with a homer. He needs to prove that his early season success wasn't a fluke.
Bad News
  • The Dodgers are just a really strong all around team. They have the third best run differential in the Majors. It is tough to find a weak spot with this team.
  • Like mentioned above, D-Backs pitching has been really bad lately, in particular the starters. They have a 6.21 ERA in the last 7 days.
Bullpen Status

The entire bullpen for both teams should be good to go on Monday.

Injury Report

Nothing new to report on for the Diamondbacks which will be of relevance for this series. They are still without Ender Inciarte, Archie Bradley, Patrick Corbin, and Oscar Hernandez, all of whom should return in early to mid July.

It was recently reported that  Dodgers' reliever Paco Rodriguez will miss the next 8-10 weeks after shoulder surgery. Other than that, there's nothing new to report on.

Pitching Matchup

Game 1: Allen Webster RHP (1-1, 6.46 ERA, 1.50 WHIP) vs Mike Bolsinger RHP (4-2, 2.95 ERA, 1.24 WHIP)

I don't see Webster sticking in the rotation. He has walked more guys than he's struck out, and has an ERA in the sixes even with a BABIP of just .227! When that normalizes to a regular rate, his ERA will get even worse. Unless Webster gets his control issues figured out, he could be returning to Reno very soon.

Now that Bolsinger has left the Diamondbacks, he is turning things around. Figures. This year, Bolsinger has been throwing primarily a cutter and curve, the curve coming about 50% of the time. It would seem that a couple times around in the order, guys will pick up on that curve and start killing the ball. Mike has experienced some problems in his last 3 games, not getting through the 6th in each one. I'd say this game is a toss up.

Game 2: Rubby de la Rosa RHP (6-3, 4.69 ERA, 1.24 WHIP) vs Carlos Frias RHP (5-5, 4.31 ERA, 1.52 WHIP)

Rubby has been showing his ace potential the last 3 starts, with an ERA of 0.81. If he can continue this recent success, he will become the ace which this team needs.

After a hot start to the year where Frias allowed more than 3 runs in just 1 game in 8 starts, Frias has run into some struggles, with a 5.74 ERA in his last 3 starts. Frias likes his fastballs, throwing three types about 85% of the time. There isn't a whole lot of velocity change between these pitches, so the Diamondbacks really just need to worry about the movement on them. I'm giving the advantage to Arizona, who has the pitcher trending upwards.

Game 3: Robbie Ray LHP (2-3, 1.98 ERA, 1.02 WHIP) vs Brett Anderson LHP (4-4, 3.13 ERA, 1.29 WHIP)

Ever since being called up to replace Archie in the rotation, Ray has been great. He has done a really good job of controlling his electric stuff, having struck out about 3 times as many people as he's walked. If he can keep pitching as well as he has, the D-Backs will have quite the 1-2 punch with him and Rubby.

It feels like we face this guy every time the D-Backs play LA. Anderson is having a solid year for the Dodgers, stepping up in an injury plagued rotation. He gets things done with a lot of ground balls, getting them 68% of the time this season. Anderson has been pretty good this season against Arizona, with a 3.70 ERA in 3 starts against them. I'd give a very slight edge to the D-Backs for this matchup.

X-Factors

For the Diamondbacks, the X-Factor is A.J Pollock. Over the last 2 weeks, his triple slash is .180/.228/.280. Ugh. He is one of the leaders of the D-Backs offense, and they need him to turn it around.

On the other side, Yasiel Puig is the X-Factor. Like Pollock, he has struggled mightily in the last couple weeks, with a triple slash of .190/.261/.333. If he turns things around, an already scary offense gets even scarier.

Series Prediction

I think the D-Backs just win 1 of 3. They are overmatched on both the offensive pitching end of things.