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Series Preview: Diamondbacks vs Dodgers

The D-Backs welcome everyone's favorite team to Chase Field for a 3-game set.

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Arizona Diamondbacks (28-37) vs Los Angeles Dodgers (33-31)

After leaving D-Backs fans everywhere in despair with their play in the end of May, the team actually looked solid over the last week. Will this play continue? Who knows, I cannot recall a season where the D-Backs have been so up and down.

State of the Dodgers

The Dodgers have not been quite as good this year as expected, just 2 games above .500. The good news for them is that they’ve been able to hang around despite all the injuries before the year started, and a couple key players going down once the season actually began. On the offensive side, the team has been lead by rookie Corey Seager, who has lived up to all the hype surrounding him. He and his 14 homers are at the top of rookie of the year conversations. Adrian Gonzalez is alive and well, doing his thing, and a resurgence from Chase Utley has been a pleasant surprise. Trayce Thompson (brother of Klay, a fact which you will probably hear 50 times over the next 3 days) has had to step up in an injury plagued outfield, and has done so very well, leading the team in OPS. However, they have also had their share of underachievers. Justin Turner and Yasiel Puig, guys who used to be very steady, are both well below league average. As a whole, the lineup is very okay, averaging 4.19 runs game, 18th in the majors.

On the pitching side, we’ll dive into the specific starting pitchers later, but as a brief overview, the starting rotation has been Kershaw, Maeda, Disappointment, and Injury. The bullpen, on the other hand, has been phenomenal. The 5 relievers with the most appearances all have ERAs way better than league average.

Good News
  • The D-Backs offense is coming back around, having scored 5+ runs in 4 of the last 6.
  • Goldy is still tearing it up, with a batting average around .440 in his last 7 games. Nick Ahmed is also above .400 in the last week, a rare feat for him.
  • The Dodgers offense has been awful lately, averaging 2.17 runs per game in their last 6.
Bad News
  • Jake Lamb, where are ya? He is batting .200 in his last 50 plate appearances.
  • The D-Backs will need to get to the Dodgers starting pitching: their bullpen has a 1.60 ERA in the last 2 weeks.
Injury Report
  • Shelby Miller will make one more rehab start before rejoining the big league team, so he won’t be back for this series.
  • Chris Owings went on the DL on Saturday with plantar fasciitis, and will be out for a couple weeks.
  • Rubby de la Rosa will not return until August or September.
  • The Dodgers have a slew of players on the DL, but only Yasiel Puig is recent. He went on the DL on June 3 with a left hamstring strain.
  • After Tommy John surgery in April of last year, Brandon McCarthy made his first rehab outing on Saturday. He won’t be back until July, but he’s definitely a guy to root for.
Pitching Matchups

Game 1: Mike Bolsinger RHP (1-3, 5.75 ERA, 1.28 WHIP) vs Zack Greinke RHP (8-3, 3.84 ERA, 1.17 WHIP)

Hey, we know this guy! If my memory is correct, Bolsinger came up to the big league squad in mid-2014 for the D-Backs, and was very unimpressive. His 5.50 ERA in 2014 solidifies that thought. This season isn’t going to well for him either, he is yet to have a quality start through 4 outings. He is a very soft thrower, with a fastball that rarely exceeds 90. His main breaking pitch is a big, looping curve, which is verrrrryyyy tough to hit when he has it working.

Greinke is back. He is riding a 16 inning scoreless streak into Monday, after a 3-hit shutout last week. 4 of his last 5 outings have been completely dominant, and I expect that trend to continue. Huge advantage to the D-Backs.

Game 2: Kenta Maeda RHP (5-4, 2.70 ERA, 1.06 WHIP) vs Archie Bradley RHP (2-2, 5.22 ERA, 1.43 WHIP)

Maeda is looking like one of the best signings of the offseason. Maeda’s base contract is 3 million dollars for this season, but with incentives and such the Dodgers will probably end up paying him somewhere between 11 and 13 million dollars this season. For comparison sake, the Giants signed Jeff Samardzija for 18 million a year, who has an ERA about 20% higher than Maeda. We are not catching him at an ideal time, unfortunately: He has allowed 2 earned runs in his last 18 innings pitched.

Archie has been okay in his 5 outings this season, but the same problem that haunted him last year is still lingering: walks. He is walking 4.6 batters per 9, equal to a walk every other inning. If he finds a way to limit those free passes, Archie will develop into the pitcher the organization wants him to be.

Game 3: Clayton Kershaw LHP (9-1, 1.52 ERA, 0.65 WHIP) vs Patrick Corbin LHP (3-5, 4.81 ERA, 1.33 WHIP)

Kershaw is one of the greatest pitchers of all time, and will definitely be in the conversation for greatest pitcher ever when his career ends. He was struck out 122 batters this year. He has struck out 122 batters this year. He has walked 6. He is on track to strike out 280 and walk 13 batters. Insanity.

Corbin is going to need to dominate on Wednesday if the D-Backs want any sort of chance. In 78 career starts, he has gone 7+ innings and allowed 1 or fewer runs 11 times, so I’ll give him a 1 in 7 chance of having the start necessary to beat Kershaw. Possible, but the advantage definitely goes to the Dodgers.

Keys to the Series

Bradley vs Maeda: Let’s be honest: the first and third games of this series should not be much of a contest. Greinke should dominate game 1, and Kershaw should dominate game 3. The Bradley vs Maeda match-up should be a good one, although I expect Maeda to come out victorious. Go prove me wrong Archie.


D-Backs win one of three.