|ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS||LOS ANGELES DODGERS|
|David Peralta - LF||Chris Taylor - CF|
|A.J. Pollock - CF||Corey Seager - SS|
|Paul Goldschmidt - 1B||Justin Turner - 3B|
|J.D. Martinez - RF||Cody Bellinger - 1B|
|Daniel Descalso - 2B||Enrique Hernandez - LF|
|Chris Iannetta - C||Logan Forsythe - 2B|
|Jake Lamb - 3B||Austin Barnes - C|
|Ketel Marte - SS||Yasiel Puig - RF|
|Robbie Ray - LHP||Rich Hill - LHP|
If not quite a “must win” for the D-backs, tonight would certainly put them in a much better spot than a loss. Splitting the first two would give them the chance to clinch on home territory back in Phoenix, effectively taking home-field advantage away from the Dodgers. A loss would leave the Diamondbacks needing to win three straight against Los Angeles to progress. While not impossible - hell, we did it twice in a row during the regular season - it’s not what you’d call an ideal situation for any team.
The good news is, Robbie Ray starts for the Diamondbacks, who was awesome against the Dodgers, and particularly in Dodger Stadium, this season. He went 3-0 with a 2.27 ERA over five starts against Los Angeles in 2017, and owns a career 1.81 ERA in the ballpark. Among pitchers with at least ten starts against them, he has the second-lowest batting average against, at .194 (only J.R. Richard’s .172 is lower). The key question is whether Wednesday’s emergency outing will impact Ray’s performance: He was fairly efficient, throwing 34 in working 2.1 relief innings against the Rockies in the wild-card game, so I’m optimistic it was little different from a side-session.
A couple of changes from yesterday’s line-up, with Jake Lamb returning to face a slightly less challenging left-handed pitchers, and Chris Iannetta taking over catching duties. Chris Herrmann was Ray’s regular catcher during the season, but he’s not on the roster. However, Ray’s ERA in six games throwing to Iannetta was a stellar 1.57, barely half what it was to Herrmann (3.13) or Mathis (3.34) so I’m confident this pairing will work well together. Hopefully, the D-backs can get on the board early, settle the nerves and force the Dodgers to play catch-up the rest of the way.
How to watch and listen
- Start time: 6 pm
- TV: TBS (as yesterday, if the Cubs/Nationals game runs too long, the start of the game will be on TNT. Though there is an extra half hour of leeway today!). Alternatively, you may be better served by pouring hot lead, fire ants and radioactive waste into your ears, if the commentary yesterday is anything to go by. Yeah, I know the Dodgers were the best team in baseball. Yeah, I know the first inning didn’t go quite the way the D-backs wanted. But, sheesh, if I wanted three hours of non-stop Dodger eulogizing, I’d find a Vin Scully retrospective.
- Radio: ESPN Radio (620 AM in Phoenix)
98.7 FM Arizona Sports
As mentioned before, the SnakePit and Brute Squad will be gathering for Game 2 at OHSO’s in Paradise Valley (10810 N. Tatum Blvd. #126 Phoenix, AZ 85028). You’re welcome to join us! I probably won’t be quite as active on social media as a result, since I fully anticipate my hands being fully occupied with burgers and beer - or, perhaps, stopping up my ears.