|ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS||LOS ANGELES DODGERS|
|A.J. Pollock - CF||Andrew Toles - LF|
|Chris Owings - RF||Corey Seager - SS|
|Paul Goldschmidt - 1B||Justin Turner - 3B|
|Yasmany Tomas - LF||Adrian Gonzalez - 1B|
|Brandon Drury - 2B||Logan Forsythe - 2B|
|Daniel Descalso - 3B||Yasmani Grandal - C|
|Nick Ahmed - SS||Joc Pederson - CF|
|Jeff Mathis - C||Yasiel Puig - RF|
|Zack Greinke - RHP||Clayton Kershaw - LHP|
If you're looking for a marquee pitching match-up, you likely won't find anything better this season than Greinke vs. Kershaw. That's especially true in terms of financial firepower, with each starting pitcher tonight pretty much earning a cool million dollars for their efforts this evening. It's the first time the two have faced off since Greinke jumped ship for the Diamondbacks and his record-breaking contract the winter before last. Greinke did face LA three times last year, with decidedly mixed results. He won the June game with seven innings of two-run ball, but in September at Chavez Ravine, allowed eight earned runs over less than five innings.
Somehow, we only faced Kershaw once in the 19 times we saw the Dodgers last season, so will match that tally with the opening game in 2017! It didn't end well for the Diamondbacks in 2016, as he fanned 11 over 7.1 innings, allowing two runs on five hits and a walk. However, Arizona did have a 1-0 lead going into the sixth inning, before eventually succumbing 3-2. I imagine the best hope of success is going to be ending up on the right side of a low-scoring affair, nice though some of the batterings we've inflicted on Kershaw previously would be to reproduce.
More likely, it's going to rely on the team playing sound, fundamental baseball, not giving away their at-bats and not giving the Dodgers freebies, either at the plate or elsewhere. If we could get a few more hits with runners in scoring position, that would likely help as well. That was an aspect notable by its absence over the Giants' series, where the Diamondbacks were 4-for-25. Despite that, however, our season average there is still the best in the National League, at .348, 32 points above the second highest. Regression there would still have almost a hundred points to go if it's going to return to league average.
Let's just hope it isn't tonight. We're likely to need all the help we can, though as Kershaw's last start, in Coors Field, proves, he is not unbeatable. Doing so tonight would go a long way towards proving that the excellent start to the season was not the illusion many of us still fear.