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Preview: 4/3 vs. Dodgers

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This will be hard pushed to come close to last night’s game. I’d not mind if it didn’t even try...

MLB: Arizona Diamondbacks at New York Mets Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Today's Lineups

LOS ANGELES DODGERS ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS
Chris Taylor - CF David Peralta - LF
Corey Seager - SS Ketel Marte - SS
Yasiel Puig - RF Paul Goldschmidt - 1B
Cody Bellinger - 1B A.J. Pollock - CF
Matt Kemp - LF Chris Owings - RF
Enrique Hernandez - 2B Daniel Descalso - 2B
Logan Forsythe - 3B Deven Marrero - 3B
Austin Barnes - C John Ryan Murphy - C
Clayton Kershaw - LHP Zack Godley - RHP

Last night’s victory was important for the D-backs, especially in its manner. After being swept in the NLDS, it would not be a good way to start the season. for the Dodgers to come to Chase Field and lead, almost from first to last pitch. Chris Owings saved us from that fate, with his last out home-run, and planted a serious seed of doubt about LA closer Kenley Jansen. He’s paid $11.3 million this year, with a further $57.3 million (!) due over the net three seasons, unless he opts out. While two games don’t make a trend, that’s now four earned runs, and it’s only April 3. Last year, Jansen had allowed four earned runs on July 22. He had more walks in the ninth last night than in all of April-June 2017. I’m enjoying LA’s panic.

After that, it felt like the rest of the game was played with house money, since I’d already resigned myself to a loss before Owing’s blast. That’s why I wasn’t particularly mad when the Dodgers scored in the top of the 15th inning. Losing a game that you’d previously written off is no big deal. But, the D-backs did what the D-backs do, first coming back to wipe out the third Los Angeles advantage of the evening, then securing their first lead of the game on the 530th and final pitch. Evidence that it’s not how you start that matters, it’s how you finish.

Tonight will be a tough one, even if this is the only time in Kershaw’s career that he has lost his first start. Of course, the D-backs have had their share of success against him, but you now have to go back a bit into history to find it. Last year, we scored one run off him, over 15.1 innings, with a K:BB ratio of 19:3. I get the feeling that the most likely win for the D-backs is going to be something along the lines of the 1-0 victory the Giants took on Opening Day. We’ll need Zack Godley to keep us in the game, and our hitters can hopefully take advantage of opportunity when it comes knocking. But, just as long as this one doesn’t end up going into its sixth hour, I think we’ll be happy!

This will be the end of our first time through the rotation, and we’re still looking for a starting pitcher to go six innings. Indeed, including the four post-season games (where it didn’t happen either), and the tail end of last season, it has now been 15 consecutive games without a D-back starter going six innings - the last man to do so, was Patrick Corbin’s 6.2 innings on September 24. Over that same time, Zack Greinke’s 105 pitches in Game 3 of the NLDS is the only man to reach 100 pitches. I don’t know if this is a deliberate tactics by the Diamondbacks, but it’s certainly interesting.