Arizona Diamondbacks (27-29) @ Los Angeles Dodgers (32-25)
The D-Backs just split a 4-game series with the Mets, and have won 6 of their last 10. In the series finale, they had a chance to get to a .500 record, but dropped the game due to a poor start from Collmenter. The D-Backs are 4th in the West, and just trail the Dodgers by 4.5 games. The offense has been better than anyone could expect this year, currently 2nd in the majors in run scored. The problem has been pitching, as the Diamondbacks are 27th in runs allowed per game.
Los Angeles has struggled a bit lately, first splitting a series with Colorado, and then losing 3 out of 4 to St Louis. Their offense was non-existent in the series with the Cardinals, where LA scored just 6 runs in 4 games. Ha, the Dodgers. I suppose that the Dodgers are the ones who deserve to be laughing though, as they are currently 1st in the NL West with a .5 game lead over the Giants. The Dodgers pitching is what has carried them to the division lead, as they are 3rd in the Majors in runs allowed per game. The only real weak spot in the Dodgers lineup is Jimmy Rollins, batting .205 with 6 homers. Everyone else in the lineup has had a good season, led by Joc Pederson (.262 AVG, 17 HR) and Adrian Gonzalez (.337 AVG, 11 HR). Andre Ethier is also having a nice bounce back season, batting .288 in a year most said he would be pushed out of the Dodgers lineup.
- We will face neither Clayton Kershaw nor Zack Grienke. Rejoice D-Backs fans!
- Like noted above, Jake Lamb and David Hernandez are back from the DL. Lamb provides the team with a left handed bat with pop, and Hernandez will hopefully bring some stability to the 'pen. Both guys will without a doubt give the team a big moral boost.
- Yasmany Tomas just continues to hit. He is batting .370 in his last 7 games. Other guys who are hot: A.J. Pollock, Goldy, Owings (on 11-game hit streak), and even Salty, who is batting .313 in his last 5 games.
- Andre Ethier is slumping, batting just .200 in his last 7 games.
- Joc Pederson is still raking, having hit 5 dingers in his last 8 games.
- Ender Inciarte has struggled in his last 7, with an OBP of just .265 over that time span. Maybe time for a bit of a shakeup in the lineup?
- The Dodgers bullpen has been pretty good, with a 3.11 ERA this season.
During the Mets series the D-Backs saw the return of both Jake Lamb and David Hernandez from the DL. Hernandez looked sharp, throwing a scoreless inning Sunday, but Lamb struggled going 0-for-5 in the series. It doesn't appear we will see any injured guys return for Arizona in LA, and there are no new injuries to report on.
For the Dodgers, second baseman Howie Kendrick was not in the starting lineup in their weekend series with St. Louis. It is reported he had knee soreness, and he is listed at day-to-day. Yasiel Puig (ugh) just returned from injury yesterday, and will play this series against the D-Backs.
We probably will not see JC Ramirez pitch Monday after throwing 33 pitches on Sunday. I would also be surprised if David Hernandez pitches Monday, since he pitched Sunday and the team won't want to put him out there back-to-back days right after his Tommy John surgery.
Everybody in the Dodgers 'pen should be good to go for this series.
Game 1: Rubby de la Rosa RHP (4-2, 5.09 ERA, 1.22 WHIP) vs Mike Bolsinger RHP (3-1, 1.98 ERA, 1.07 WHIP)
You know the drill with Rubby by now. He's gonna either be fantastic, or he's gonna be terrible. Look out for the long ball, since he's allowed at least one in 8/11 starts this year. He faced the Dodgers once this year, and... it wasn't an ideal outing. 5 runs allowed, all earned, in 5 innings. A better start would certainly be appreciated Monday.
One of the Dodgers' best starters this year has been... Mike Bolsinger? Of course. The ex-Diamondback has done a fantastic job of filling in for a rotation filled with injury, allowing more than 2 runs in only one of his 6 starts. Mike has been unhittable at home, allowing 1 run in 19.2 innings at Dodger Stadium. Bolsinger throws primarily a cutter in the mid 80's, and also a curveball 40% of the time. I do not like our chances in this one.
Game 2: Robbie Ray LHP (1-0, 0.82 ERA, 1.09 WHIP) vs Carlos Frias RHP (4-3, 4.25 ERA, 1.54 WHIP)
Robbie Ray has had 2 fantastic starts to begin his time with the D-Backs, allowing just 1 run in 11 innings. The only real complaint you can make is that he hasn't lasted long in his starts, going 6 and 5 innings in both his starts. Unlike Bradley, I believe Ray's early success is much more sustainable for two reasons: 1: Ray's BABIP is at a normal level, at .324. 2: Ray throws three pitches at a moderate level: 94 MPH fastball (75%), slider (15%) and changeup (10%). I'd imagine we see another solid outing from him on Tuesday.
Frias began the year in the bullpen, but after injuries was brought into the rotation. He has been solid, allowing 3 or less earned runs in 6 of his 7 starts. In the lone start where he did allow more than 3, he allowed a whopping 10. That 4 inning outing is without a doubt inflating his ERA. Frias gets a ton of ground balls, with 58% of balls in play on the ground. 90% of the time, Frias throws one of his 3 fastballs: 4-seamer, 2-seamer, and cutter. The regular fastball hovers around 95, while the cutter is around 90. Frias also mixes in the occasional curve and change-up. I really like Arizona's chances in this one.
Game 3: Jeremy Hellickson RHP (4-3, 4.88 ERA, 1.42 WHIP ) vs Brett Anderson LHP (2-4, 3.29 ERA, 1.30 WHIP)
After a terrible start to his 2015 season, Jeremy has really turned things around with 4 consecutive quality starts. He has picked up the W in his last 3 outings. Hellickson has made one start against the Dodgers this year, and it was a decent one where he allowed 3 runs in 5.1 innings. He kept the team in the game, but the bullpen would end up blowing it for Arizona. I think/hope that we will see the quality start streak continue. Why? I see no reason it would stop, and as a fan I always think the better outcome will happen in a toss-up like this.
Of the three starters Arizona will face, Anderson is the only one who began the year in the rotation. Like the other 2 Dodger starters in this series, Anderson has been pretty good. This year, Anderson has been getting a ridiculous number of ground balls, with 68% of balls in play being grounders. He has some pretty extreme reverse splits, with left handed hitters hitting .303 off him in his career, and righties hitting .246.
For the Diamondbacks, the I'm going with Jeremy Hellickson and Rubby de la Rosa. The starting pitching needs to keep the D-Backs in the game, and these guys have been very inconsistent. If they perform well, we could see a sweep, and at the very least a series win. If they struggle, well you may not be pleased with the outcome of this series.
For the Dodgers, the X-Factor is Joc Pederson. If he continues to smoke the baseball, it will not be easy for the Diamondbacks offense to keep up with him.
- Will the Dodgers starters be able to maintain their surprisingly good seasons? I think that at least one of them will have some major struggles this series. If I had to guess, I'd go with Bolsinger, mostly because I'm bitter that we get rid of him and he goes out to have a great year.
- Do you like the Dodgers, Nate? No.
I think that our starting pitching turns it around, and the Dodger starters struggle. I also love our offense, and think that we will sweep the Dodgers, and pull within 1.5 games of them.