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Preview #114: Arizona Diamondbacks vs. Los Angeles Dodgers

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We’ve outscored the Dodgers this season, but are 5-7 against them. Does that “matter”?

Los Angeles Dodgers v Arizona Diamondbacks Photo by Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images

Today's Lineups

LOS ANGELES DODGERS ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS
Chris Taylor - LF David Peralta - LF
Corey Seager - SS A.J. Pollock - CF
Justin Turner - 3B Jake Lamb - 3B
Cody Bellinger - 1B Paul Goldschmidt - 1B
Logan Forsythe - 2B J.D. Martinez - RF
Enrique Hernandez - RF Daniel Descalso - 2B
Austin Barnes - C Chris Iannetta - C
Joc Pederson - CF Ketel Marte - SS
Yu Darvish - RHP Anthony Banda - LHP

With seven games left to play this year, the D-backs are 5-7 against the Dodgers, but have outscored them by a 53-50 margin. This is because four of their seven wins over have been by one-run, with an average margin of 2.6 runs, while our five victories have been by an average of 4.2 runs. This is cause for optimism, and suggests that if the two teams played the same way in a post-season series, the Diamondbacks would probably win. This is because teams have no control over when they score runs. We often joke in blowouts, about “saving runs for tomorrow”, but better teams score more runs than their opponents.

Put it this way, would you rather score 4.4 runs per game, as the D-backs have done so far this season, or 4.2 runs per game, as the Dodgers have done? Of course, come the post-season, it all resets to zero - as does whatever lead Los Angeles finishes the season with in the division. That’s why regular-season success is not necessarily the decider in terms of the playoffs. 2013 was the last time that the two teams with the best regular season records (the Cardinals and the Red Sox) ended up meeting in the World Series. Before that, you have to go all the way back to 1999, and the Yankees and Braves. So, it’s getting to the playoffs that matters...