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Series Preview: Diamondbacks @ Dodgers

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After a disappointing start to the season, the D-Backs look to turn things around in LA

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Arizona Diamondbacks (2-5) @ Los Angeles Dodgers (4-3)

Well, I sure wasn't expecting (or hoping) to write that the D-Backs were 2-5 going into this series with the Dodgers. I guess that's just how baseball goes. The D-Backs are coming off of a very rough series against the Cubs, where they dropped 3 of 4. The Cubs dominated Arizona in pretty much every aspect of the game, with the lone D-Backs win coming off a Yasmany Tomas walk-off single. The series seems to have created some pretty negative thoughts about the team, but you have to remember the opponent. The Cubs are the World Series pick of approximately 130% of America. They're expected to be a great team, so don't get too worked up over that 4 game stretch. Enough ranting about the past, let's get onto...

The State of the Dodgers

So, ya know how I mentioned the Cubs dominating Arizona? That was nothing compared to what L.A. did to the Padres last week. The Dodgers won a 3-game series against San Diego 25-0. That probably says more about how pathetic the Padres will be than it says about the Dodgers, but beating a team that badly is still pretty impressive. The Dodgers followed that up by winning 1 out of 4 against the Giants, so maybe they shoulda saved some of those Padres runs for San Francisco. Taking a look at more specific players, we're looking at a line-up virtually identical to last year. Yasiel Puig and Adrian Gonzalez are your headliners, while Justin Turner, Corey Seager, and Joc Pederson are the main supporting cast.

Good Things

  • As a team, the Dodgers' BABIP is .367. This will surely regress soon, and indicates that some of the Dodgers' early offensive success has a lot to do with luck.
  • The Dodgers bullpen has an ERA of 5.52. Get the starting pitcher out early, and the D-Backs should be able to tee off on the bullpen.
  • Jean Segura and David Peralta have been smoking the ball early on this season, slugging .923 and .583. With other offensive guys struggling, it's nice to have been able to count on the two of them.
Bad News
  • Adrian Gonzalez and Yasiel Puig have been as hot as I am, both hitting well above .400. Puig is definitely not the guy you want to face on a hot streak.
  • The Diamondbacks pitching has been really bad. You already know this.
  • The Dodgers offense as a whole has been very good. When you exclude the pitchers, the team has a triple slash of .303/.355/.455.
Injury Report

Outfielder Carl Crawford was placed on the DL on Saturday with lower back pain. Other than that, there's nothing new/notable for the Dodgers

Nothing new for the D-Backs. Woo-hoo.

Bullpen Status

Randall Delgado threw 39 pitches on Sunday, Jake Barrett threw 26, and Matt Buschmann threw 19. I'd expect that Delgado and Barrett will be rested on Tuesday, but they could probably pitch if necessary.

Everyone should be fresh for the Dodgers by Tuesday.

Pitching Matchups

Game 1: Patrick Corbin LHP (0-1, 5.14 ERA, 1.14 WHIP) vs Kenta Maeda RHP (1-0, 0.00 ERA, 0.83 WHIP)

Don't worry about Corbin's last start. The only reason that he gave up 4 runs on Wednesday was that 3 out of the Rockies' 8 hits were homers. Before Wednesday, Corbin had allowed 3 homers once in his entire career. It won't happen again. He struck out 6 and walked nobody, so his control was certainly there. I see Corbin having a great outing on Tuesday.

Maeda was great in his MLB debut, giving up no runs, no walks, and 5 hits over 6 innings. Full disclosure: I know absolutely nothing about the former Japanese star. You can read about him from a guy who does know stuff about Maeda right here. Looks like an even matchup for Tuesday's matinee.

Game 2: Rubby de la Rosa RHP (uhhhhh it's not pretty) vs Alex Wood LHP (0-1, 9.00 ERA, 2.00 WHIP)

Rubby gets a pretty bad rap here on the SnakePit. The general consensus is that he does not deserve a spot in the rotation. That consensus is probably right, but you could do much worse than Rubby at your 4-5 spot in the rotation. He can be really, REALLY good. In 8 of his starts last season, he went 7+ innings and allowed either 0 or 1 run. That's 8 games that are all but guaranteed wins. Yeah, he needs to be more consistent, but you've always got a shot at that dominant performance.

Looking at Alex Wood's Fangraphs page, it's hard to see how he had a 2.84 ERA in 2014. He throws 3 pitches, a high 80's to low 90's fastball, a good knuckle-curve, and an okay change-up. That's it. Hitters caught onto him in 2015, where his ERA went up about a run. He was lit up in his first start this season, where he went 5 innings and allowed 5 runs. The D-Backs should be able to generate a good amount of offense against him. I'll give the edge to Arizona

Game 3: Robbie Ray LHP (0-0, 3.00 ERA, 1.33 WHIP) vs Ross Stripling RHP (0-0, 1.23 ERA, 0.55 WHIP)

Robbie Ray has the lone quality start thus far, after a 6 inning, 2 run performance on Friday. You know the drill by now with Ray. He'll give you 5-6 innings of solid pitching every night, but can't go deep into games due to high pitch counts.

In his MLB debut, Stripling was pulled in the 8th inning with no hits allowed, so yeah he had a solid debut. He was also the center of controversy when Dave Roberts took him out of the game in the middle of a no-hitter, but I'm sure you already have your own strong opinion on if that was the right decision. No idea what we should expect from him on Thursday, so advantage D-Backs

X-Factors

Soooooooo many options for the D-Backs. I'll go with Patrick Corbin. We need somebody to show us that yes, they are capable of not being awful at pitching. A dominant performance from Corbin is the spark this team needs.

There isn't one key player that sticks out at me for the Dodgers. Sorry.

Predictions
  • Rubby de la Rosa will have one of his dominant performances.
  • Goldy goes off.
  • D-Backs lose game 1, win games 2 and 3