Arizona Diamondbacks (38-52) vs Los Angeles Dodgers (51-40)
The all-star break could not have come at a better time for both D-Backs players and fans. The team had lost 12 of their last 14 games heading into the break, and everyone was in desperate need of a break from all the losing. Hopefully the second half can provide a bit of promise for next season.
State of the Dodgers
The Dodgers were on a bit of a run heading into the all-star break, having won 8 of their last 11 games. They’re in good shape heading into the second half of the season, currently holding the 1st wild card spot. The Dodgers have been mediocre on offense, 11th in the NL in runs per game at 4.2. Rookie phenom Corey Seager headlines the lineup, with 17 homers and a triple slash of .297/.357/.521. Adrian Gonzalez and Justin Turner have performed well, as expected, but one area of disappointment has come from Yasiel Puig. His power has been absent this year, with just 7 home runs on the year. At the catcher position, expect a mix of Yasmani Grandal (.212 batting average, 12 homers) and A.J. Ellis (.195 batting average, a mere 5 extra base hits).
The Dodgers’ pitching is what has kept them in the playoff picture. Their runs allowed per game of 3.62 is good for 3rd in the NL, an impressive feat for a team that has used 12 starting pitchers this year. They also have the best bullpen in the majors, so the D-Backs will need to do damage early to have a shot at winning.
- A new half is beginning! Maybe happier days are awaiting the D-Backs in the second half.
- The Dodgers have had some struggles on the road, one game under .500 in games away from Dodger Stadium.
- It’s a brand new half, so we’re going to avoid negative thoughts.
Outfielders Chris Owings (that still seems weird to type) and David Peralta were sent on a rehab assignment in the Rookie League on Wednesday. Beyond them, it seems that nobody else is close to returning for this series.
The Dodgers are starting to get some of their injured players back, which should help them as they go for a playoff spot. Starting pitchers Brandon McCarthy and Hyun Jin Ryu made their first starts of the season at the beginning of July, giving a big boost to a depleted rotation. The bad news is that they just lost the best pitcher in the world, Clayton Kershaw, to injury for which there is no timetable yet.
Game 1: Patrick Corbin LHP (4-7, 4.94 ERA, 1.48 WHIP) vs Bud Norris RHP (4-7, 3.98 ERA, 1.32 WHIP)
There are two stats that sum up Corbin’s struggles this season. He’s walking about one extra batter per 9 from his career average (2016: 3.49 Career: 2.44), and his HR per 9 is also up significantly (2016: 1.53 Career: 1.07). Generally, an increase in walks and homers doesn’t lead to better pitching stats. Weird, right?
Replacing Clayton Kershaw with Bud Norris is kind of like saying "oh no I’m out of pizza sauce? Well I’ll just use some ketchup instead" but hey, you gotta find someone. He’s pitched pretty well since being traded to Los Angeles, with a 2.70 ERA in 2 starts. Norris throws just two pitches 90% of the time, a fastball and a slider. This should be a pretty even game.
Game 2: Archie Bradley RHP (3-5, 4.64 ERA, 1.41 WHIP) vs Brandon McCarthy RHP (2-0, 2.70 ERA, 0.90 WHIP)
At home this year, Archie has been giving up homers left and right, with a HR/9 of 2.64 when pitching at Chase Field. He does a pretty good job at preventing hits at home- opponents are batting .231 against him- but when he does allow hits, they’re going a long ways. 16 of the 27 hits he has allowed at home have been for extra bases. This trend will need to stop if Archie wants to stay in the rotation.
Awesome to be McCarthy return after being hurt for the last year and a half. He has pitched in 2 games this season, going 5 innings in both and allowing a total of 3 runs. I’d expect a start similar in length, since the Dodgers still want to be careful with his elbow. Slight advantage to the Dodgers.
Game 3: Robbie Ray LHP (4-8, 4.81 ERA, 1.56 WHIP) vs Kenta Maeda RHP (8-6, 2.95 ERA, 1.09 WHIP)
Meh, you know the drill. Decent amount of strikeouts, and he’ll throw pitch 100 in the 5th or 6th inning.
It will be up to Maeda to hold down the fort while Kershaw is gone. He doesn’t throw very hard, with an average fastball velocity of 90.5. He doesn’t have any real standout pitch, either. He has succeeded due to his superb command, walking very few batters and generating a lot of weak contact. One thing that he does struggle with is going deep into games. He has pitched 7 innings just twice in his 18 starts. Big advantage to the Dodgers in this one.
D-Backs win 1 of 3.